Inspired by Kobe's retirement announcement, the Golden State Warriors came into Utah on Monday night with an unmatched hunger to win.
"They just wanted it more," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder stated. "The Warriors came to play tonight. We wanted it too, but obviously not quite as much as them. That's who gets it, you know? Whoever wants it most. It's about desire... and need. The Warriors needed it more than we did, and that's why they got it."
Wanting it more has been the Warriors secret plan all along. How Quin Snyder figured that out is probably a credit to Jazz advance scout Jeff Nelson.
"I've had my job for 25 years now," Nelson started. "I've forgotten more basketball than you'll ever see. The one thing you need, and I mean really need, is the will to win."
Steve Kerr knows how to win, evidenced by the championship rings scattered across his fingers.
"Obviously, there's no question about it." the injured coach said, via cybernetic android Luke Walton. "That's why Joe Lacob hired me. That's what I learned from Phil and Pop. To be the best, you have to want to be the best more than anyone else."
Former head coach Mark Jackson agreed. "That's why I got fired. I focused too much on the X's and O's and analytics, when I should have been getting the team to play with more heart. If I had played for a championship team, I would have known that... but when I played none of my teammates ever wanted it as much as the Bulls and Rockets did. I mean, Reggie wanted it pretty bad, obviously more than Patrick Ewing, but just not as bad as Jordan and Kobe."
Draymond Green scowls when he plays, so you know how bad he wants it. Way more than Derrick Favors (who almost never has visible tantrums, or "desire eruptions", as I like to call them) wanted it.
"I started out wanting it a lot, I thought, but as the game wore on I didn't want it quite as much as Draymond did, and it showed." Favors confessed. "I'd feel like I let the guys down, but I wanted it more than them. I made a face on that and-1, and my guys didn't even scowl. My passion showed, just not as much as Draymond. I'm pretty sure he wanted it the most tonight."
Draymond proved how much he wanted it by scoring 20 points on only 21 shots, along with five turnovers, both game highs (and extremely accurate "desire" indicators). He wouldn't just come out and say it, but you could tell how determined he was to continue Kobe's legacy.
"Kobe was the best at wanting it," Green remarked after the game. " Nobody wanted it more than him. But now he doesn't want it, so I want it."
Determination like that has never been seen before, and will probably remain unmatched for all time. Can you imagine if some of the league's wasted talent could match Kobe's competitiveness? Muggsy Bogues, who's career only lasted 15 seasons despite his well documented physical advantages, could have used some of that determination.
"I really wasted my talent. I didn't want it enough, and that's why my career was cut so short. I didn't have as much competitive spirit as guys like Jordan and Kobe, and it's a shame. I could have been the best, but I didn't have enough heart. Those guys did."
He's right, those guys did.
*If you couldn't tell, I made up every single quote. This is just a joke.