Saturday, January 14, 2012

Who is More Popular: The Black Mamba or The White Mamba?

I watched two NBA basketball games last night. The first, the Bulls-Celtics game, which the Bulls had control of nearly the entire game. The second, a Lakers-Cavs game where the Cavs made a furious comeback from an 18-point halftime deficit. Kobe Bryant, colloquially known as The Black Mamba, dropped 42 points, the third time in as many games that he has put up 40+ points. But over 3,000 miles away, The White Mamba, Kobe's racial counterpart, received the loudest ovation of the night, and from an away crowd, nonetheless. So it raises the question, is Brian Scalabrine, the bumbling journeyman, more popular than Kobe Bryant, arguably the greatest player of the last decade? I think the obvious answer is yes.

I've tried to pinpoint exactly why the general basketball-watching public has fallen in love with Brian Scalabrine, and I think it is for two reasons. First, the guy has a great personality, especially given his situation. He's almost considered a walking joke in the NBA, yet whenever he's called upon, he does his best to deliver. Coaches love him, but fans love him even more.

The more important reason, however, is that the White Mamba is the ultimate minority and underdog story that you can have in the NBA. He's a white, red-headed, Irishman, with a gut. With all the supreme athletes around him in the NBA, it's hard to believe that Scalabrine is still in the league, yet every year there's a coach, and usually it's Tom Thibodeau, that signs him as the last man on the bench.

Let's take a look at our favorite Scalabrine moments...

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