Kobe says Williams psyched himself out in Miami no-show
Sports Illustrated recently did a long-form piece on Kobe Bryant‘s recent six-day trip to China and as a follow-up author Chris Ballard released a few other stories and tidbits from Bryant. One of them is simply titled “Kobe on..Confidence” because nobody playing basketball has confidence the way Kobe has it so why not get his opinion on the matter.
In the story, Kobe recalls watching the Brooklyn Nets and Deron Williams take on the Miami Heat in the second round of last year’s NBA playoffs and said that Williams psyched himself out. That was the game where the Nets lost 94-82 and D-Will completely disappeared, shot 0-for-9 from the floor and finished without a single point.
From Sports Illustrated:
Gotham Chopra, the director of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”, an upcoming documentary on Bryant, told a story about being with Kobe and watching the Nets and the Heat play. Recounts Chopra, “Deron Williams went like 0-for-9. I was like, ‘Can you believe Deron Williams went 0-9?’ Kobe was like, ‘I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game, because Deron Williams can get more shots in the game. The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.’
Kobe is absolutely right. D-Will at times will clearly lack confidence. He’s often mentioned it. Heck, Kevin Garnett has mentioned it. It’s his greatest excuse behind a series of ankle and wrist injuries. As Kobe said, if he hadn’t lost confidence in himself, D-Will would have kept shooting knowing that he would eventually knock one down. Instead he almost completely disappeared (someone posted a wanted sign outside the Barclays Center afterward) and instead was a non-factor in the Nets’ biggest game of the season.
All of this plays a big role in why Brooklyn fans haven’t been able to get behind D-Will 100 percent. The guy gets paid a ton and has a lot to live up to that he so far has been unable to. The injuries play a huge role in this. The ankle injuries have pestered him for the past two years. That’s why this season seems like a make-or-break one as far as his legacy goes. He finally had surgery to repair his ankles and without Paul Pierce there is more pressure on D-Will than ever. If he can’t come through this year, he’ll forever be known as the guy with talent that couldn’t get it done.
It will all come down to confidence. Is Game 2 D-Will going to show up? Or the guy that played out of his mind at the end of the 2012-13 season after his ankles responded positively to platelet rich plasma therapy? Can he channel his inner-Mamba?