What goes through my brain…

…when I read a Bill Simmons mailbag.

Anyway, there was a really funny moment Thursday that could have only happened at a Lakers game. Near the end of a third-quarter timeout, the camera caught Val Kilmer and three of his chins on the JumboTron, punctuating the moment by playing “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. You know, a “Top Gun” homage. He took a second or two to get the joke, then unleashed one of those “Very funny, you got me, just know that I’m on a lot of meds right now” smiles. And this would have been enjoyable on its own, but they cut to someone else in the stands. …

That’s right. …

Tom Cruise!

He caught on a little quicker and did the Tom Cruise Over-Laugh. And this would have been great on its own, but the Lakers pushed it to another level: They went split-screen with Kilmer and Cruise with “Danger Zone” still blasting. As far as I was concerned, this was the most emotional reunion in Lakers history. Cruise kept laughing; Kilmer looked mildly perturbed. (After all, he’s an actor, dammit! That was 23 years ago! He’s made a lot of movies since then!) At this point, I was praying they’d cut to Anthony Edwards in Section 312 but he wasn’t there.

Ha! Great one about Anthony Edwards sitting in the upper level.

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“Kobe: Doin’ Work” debuts on ESPN

Anyone catch Spike Lee’s “documentary” about Kobe Bryant last night? Why am I putting the word “documentary” in quotes? Well, this wasn’t so much a documentary as it was a carefully constructed way to paint Kobe in the best possible light.

That’s not to say that it wasn’t informative. The format is this — Spike Lee had roughly 30 cameras on Kobe during a Lakers/Spurs game last year, and even gained access to the locker room for the pregame, halftime and postgame activities. Then, after a game against the Knicks, Kobe sat down with Lee and laid down a commentary track where he described everything that was going on.

Lee utilizes a ton of camera angles — and even inserts photographs here and there — to break up the monotony of watching a year-old NBA game. The camera is almost always focused on Kobe, but occasionally there are shots of other people in his life (Pau Gasol, his daughters, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, etc.).

Kobe does a good job of describing what he’s thinking during the course of a game and explaining why he did what he did. This is all well and good, but based on how positive he was being towards his teammates, it’s clear that he filtered and censored himself for this project. In fact, I’m guessing that once his teammates heard that he’d be mic’d and filmed for the entire game, they were happy to have a night off from the real Kobe.

Do fans know exactly how Kobe deals with his teammates and the officials? No, but we can put two and two together. (Guess what, it equals four.) I know that every time I watch a Laker game, Kobe bitches out one of his teammates at least two or three times, and that’s just when the camera catches him doing it. He is constantly working the refs, and oftentimes acts like a frustrated kindergartner when he doesn’t get his way. Not once did Lee catch him waving his hand at an official in dismissal of his call and/or opinion on a play, which is something that Kobe does an average of five times a game, by my count.

Part of his good mood probably had something to do with the fact that the Lakers blew out the Spurs that night — it would have been a hell of a lot more interesting to see the Lakers lose in a tight one. Let’s see what happens when Kobe and his teammates have to deal with so much adversity that he forgets that he’s being filmed. Then we might get a glimpse into what he’s really like.

But it’s not Lee’s fault — he can’t control how the game plays out. In the end, “Kobe: Doin’ Work” is what it is. An authorized all-access pass that “reveals” the carefully constructed public persona of Kobe Bryant that we’ve been spoon fed since his debacle in Colorado several years ago. The basketball action and strategy are top notch, but even after listening to Bryant speak for an hour and a half, I didn’t feel like I knew him any better, and while it’s not all that surprising, it’s still disappointing.

ESPN is running “Kobe: Doin’ Work” again this week. Check your local listings.

Blogging the Bloggers: Kobe vs. Spike Lee, Stephen A. Smith and more

SPORTSbyBROOKS reveals that Spike Lee’s documentary about Kobe almost didn’t happen because KB24 demanded full creative control. (Keep in mind, this is a story from the NY Post’s Page Six, where facts are optional.)

THE NY POST’s Phil Mushnick says Stephen A. Smith makes it impossible to feel sorry for him.

THE BIG LEAD says that Mike Mayock had the best mock draft, and has the numbers to prove it.

SCACCHOOPS has an update on top high school basketball prospect John Wall, and the current state of his decision process.

DEADSPIN has video of the worst chest-bump in the world. They also have video of Ben Gordon “celebrating” after hitting a game-saving three against the Celtics.

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