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Aldridge: "Kobe is still hungry. LeBron is still hungry.

 

They've never met in a Finals, killing the uber-conspiracy theory that the NBA would have to arrange the ultimate showdown for maximum ratings. Bryant's Lakers were in three straight Finals, winning two, between 2008 and 2010. James's Heat have been in the last two, splitting them. It has the feeling of dynasties passing in the night, with the Thunder ready to make the West theirs permanently, and the Spurs still ornery, and the Clippers and Grizzlies looming.

 

Bryant will be 34 next month, and though he's healthier this offseason than he's been in many offseasons -- which will allow him to do the kind of gut-wrenching workouts that are his norm -- his team isn't what it used to be. The Lakers can still be formidable, but they're no longer intimidating. They still have great size with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, but they no longer have prohibitive size. They have a really good coach in Mike Brown, but ... well, nobody's Phil, are they?

 

On the other side of the hill you have Miami, fresh off a title, looking head and shoulders above everyone in the East, with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh now having the summer off to rest their injuries, and having added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to go to the three-point line and wait.

 

And so, you wonder if Bryant is at all concerned that, now that James and the Heat have gotten over the hump, they'll get greedy just as he did and rip off four or five titles, keeping him at five, one short of Jordan's six."


Via Phil de Montmollin