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Trying to solve the mystery of Kobe Bryant's fall

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant grimaces after hitting the back of his head on an empty courtside chair late in the second quarter Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Call this the new version of the Zapruder film because each frame of Kobe Bryant's fall shortly before halftime of the Lakers' eventual 109-100 Game 1 loss Sunday to the New Orleans Hornets suggests different conclusions.

After New Orleans shut off the baseline and nearly forced him into a double team, Bryant faded back and nailed a 16-footer before falling to the ground. It sparked some anxiety among those at Staples Center, while Chris Paul nailed an open three-pointer and Ron Artest hit a near half court shot at the buzzer. That's because Bryant lay motionless on the floor after saying he hurt his neck. The various angles provide different interpretations.

I sat on the press tables behind the basket across from New Orleans' bench, but it appeared Bryant landed on the knee of Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of AEG. The replays shown on ABC suggested the same thing, and analyst Jeff Van Gundy voiced that conclusion: "He slid into the back of that guy's knee."

 

Leiweke insisted otherwise, telling the Daily News' Jill Painter that Bryant hit the empty courtside chair next to him. That brings up the question of why on earth there would be an open courtside seat at a Lakers playoff game. OK, so it was also the fans who didn't show up for the Lakers' playoff opener.

"I'm not sure if that was his knee," Bryant said of Leiweke. "Was that his knee? It felt like it was a metal object. It wasn't his knee."

Naturally, The Times' T.J. Simers argued Leiweke had an ulterior motive. "From my vantage point," Simers wrote, "it appeared Leiweke kneed Bryant in the neck, obviously trying to take him out and shift the spotlight to the Kings, who they tell me are in the playoffs too." When Simers told Bryant his conclusion, he couldn't help but laugh.

"I'm not touching that one," said Bryant, though Laker fans will likely be more willing. Everything turned out well for Bryant, who finished with 36 points on 14-of-26 shooting and scored 12 third-quarter points despite sitting out at warmups at halftime. But this mystery remains unsolved even with the help of instant replay. 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant grimaces after hitting the back of his head on an empty courtside chair late in the second quarter Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (16)

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That was a really strange sequence of events. I kept waiting for Kobe to get up, to get back into the frame... Weird.

Did he get some type of stinger to the back of his neck? Damn. That probably hurt like hell.

You know what else hurts? Losing homecourt advantage to the Hornets. Whatever. I'm (almost) over it. Wednesday seems like a loooooong time from now, but I can't wait. Time to remind the Hornets why that game was an aberration.

Go Lake Show!

It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. Check the grassy knoll.

i hope bryant comes on this blog and reads this ... Pass the F****ing Ball!

Tim Leiweke is a jerk who probably would go out of his way to pull a drowning puppy out of an oil barrel.

Too much effort. He has to think about himself, after all, right?

Jerk.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Roni: Maybe you should revisit Kobe's stats. He was VERY efficient in this game. Kobe was *not* the reason the Lakers lost this game. Bynum is correct: Defense, defense, defense.

Go Lake Show!

{Repost with correction}


Tim Leiweke is a jerk who probably WOULDN'T go out of his way to pull a drowning puppy out of an oil barrel.

Too much effort. He has to think about himself, after all, right?

Jerk.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Edwin,

You’re right, Pau wasn’t the only one that played poorly yesterday, but he certainly played the poorest and he’s the #2…like Kobe said. To Whom much is given, much is required. The team defense as a whole was terrible. Nevertheless, no worries, Pau will bounce back and have a strong series and playoff performance, as will the Lakers.

Song today is for Pau. Make sure you get the "Wake Up Call" for Wednesday. Don't you care about the Lakers anymore...


Maroon 5 - Wake Up Call
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzAVCDvWyxg

mclyne - thanks!

jonk - good to see you. I guess that bear never stood a chance,huh?


I'm so glad Kobe's ok. That really freaked me out. And yeah - what is it with that dude?? You couldn't make a move to help Kobe?? IT WAS KOBE!! Jeeze. It's not like it was Paula - or princess - that came flying at you... sheesh.... Cuz then I could understand. Ya know?

Pass the ball? He made the shot for crying out loud. And all you that want Kobe to pass the ball. Exactly who to and how often?

justanothermambafan,

Armed with 12 ounces of pressurized chemical weapon, I ventured into the ursine wilderness and returned unscathed!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

@Jon K

Actually it's not Leiweke who is the jerk...it's your boy TJ Slimers who is the jerk. It's amazing how such a 3rd-rate Laker-hating "journalist" like Slimers (sic) has been able to hold onto his "job" at the LA Times for all these years.

The fact that you are shallow enough to actually buy into Slimers' ridiculous conspiracy theory about Leiweke is even more puzzling...

@ Justa - If that had been Paula Pierce sliding into that chair, he would've had to have been carted off crying in a wheelchair, only to come hopping back after halftime ready to play again.

fisher sucks.

Lakers need a new point guard derek is way to slow

kobe is one the most overrated title winning players...hes good and has been thru the years but hes not top 5 of all time....they go as gasol and bynum go....he was locked down against boston in 2010 the finals gasol n bynum and perkins injury won him that title as was shaq creating triple teams winning those titles,,,ill give him the 09 magic title still gasol n bynum were the lakers main force having to contend with howard....the lakers lose to the hornets an 8 seed at home,,,because gasols woes and bynums woes,,,,what would he do if he had wennington perdue and longley,,,cuz hes got a side kick in odom like pippen,,,hell hes got artest in his prime....there winning against the hornets tonight why,,,,because of bynum,,,not kobe,,,with 5 min left in the 4th he has 5 points? u laker people need to be real n honest fans and not total homers


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