Mark Medina of the LOS ANGELES TIMES has a piece today comparing the behavior of zoo animals to the on-court personality of Kobe Bryant. In the politically correct-infested waters of the Tribune Company, I can’t say I’d have the stones to employ a concept so fraught with just-add-water outrage. (I’m told Medina enjoys juggling butcher knives and working as a backup cameraman for Bear Grylls in his spare time.)
First advisable move by Media, slough off all comparisons to the zookeepers:
I’m by no means an animal expert, and the grades in my biology classes prove it. But I figured I’d contact people who are to lend their insight. Los Angeles Zoo spokesperson Jason Jacobs provided me a rundown on the different behaviors of certain animals and Dana Brown, director of human resources at the L.A. Zoo and a Lakers fan, explained how they are comparable to Bryant’s play.
On to the animals…
Tiger: Tigers have to be self sufficient. They have their own territory and they hunt for themselves. They have to be dependent on themselves. They’re camouflaged. No two Tigers striped patterns are alike.
How Bryant is like a tiger: You don’t find a lot of Tigers and you don’t find a lot of Kobes. For the solitary animals that Tigers are, Kobe, while popular and widely recognizable, he’s not really all that social. You don’t see him on the social scene. He’s not the most social person there is. He is sort of predatory. He’s slow and calculating and then he jumps at it.
Mambas: Mambas are venomous species of snakes found in Africa. There’s two types. The green mamba and the black mamba. They are very fast snakes and very deadly. When you deal with them in a zoo situation, you take every safety precaution to transfer them. Black mambas are the largest venomous snakes in Africa and their average length is around eight to nine feet. Some can exceed 12 feet.
How Bryant is like a mamba: He is definitely one of the most deadly players out there. When Kobe is in the game, somebody is going down.
Beaver: They’re building dams. Sometimes when they build dams, it floods other animals out of their houses. The term ‘busy as a beaver’ is a cliche, but it has some truth to it. They are busy building their dams and stockpiling their food for the winter.”
How Bryant is like a beaver: When I think about his work ethic, I think about all of these roles that he plays up to and including of masking his injuries and being there for his teammates and all the preparation he puts in practice and in games.
Gazelles and Pronghorns were also cited.
Medina enlists his readers at the end of the post to, “Feel free to add your own comparisons in the comments section below.”
Let’s hope for Medina’s sake the Times has beefed up the moderator ranks since that suggestion went live.
Medina’s concept is actually an admirable stab at originality, but the execution is more an excercise in avoiding a stereotype slight than the unrestrained production of compelling copy.
Medina would’ve been better off looking off-the-court for comparisons. Take for instance, L.A. Clippers fans: