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Friday, January 15, 2010
? Quien es Mas Macho, Kobe o _______?

By Andy Kamenetzky

There's been a lot of talk these days, and rightfully so, about Kobe Bryant toughing out severe back spasms during a win over the Dallas Mavericks. It's just one of countless times over his career where Kobe triumphed in a showdown with pain. He's generally regarded as the NBA's toughest player and maybe even the toughest athlete in sports. Hell, some might even consider Mamba our planet's toughest human being. The living definition of "macho." Which reminded me of an old SNL sketch where Bill Murray played the host of a Spanish language game show where people would decide Quien es Mas Macho? --who is more macho?-- between various people (with Ricardo Montalban a recurrent winner). With Kobe's macho-ness getting everyone in a tizzy, I thought it only appropriate to revisit this question, and ask the Land O' Lakers readership for their two cents.

Quien es Mas Macho? Kobe Bryant or...

Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo
Carl Landry's missing a few teeth.

Carl Landry: Clearly, Kobe is willing to play through gritted teeth, but is he willing to lose choppers in the process? Landry certainly is, because every time he steps on the court, he's apparently at risk to lose a tooth. The collision embedding a few choppers in Dirk Nowitzki's elbow got the most hooplah, but Houston's reserve forward has made a history of shedding pearlies while balling. Try to grin and bear that particular lot in life. Plus, he only missed eight games after getting SHOT IN THE LEG. This is one macho hombre we're talking about.

Emmitt Smith:
It's hard to imagine taking an NFL hit, much less taking an NFL hit on a separated shoulder. Well, that's what the NFL's all-time leading rusher did during a 1994 playoff game. Just brutal, the NBA-equivalent of using a broken leg to go up for a dunk. I wince just picturing it.

-John McClane: "Yippie-ki-yay, ^$&@#!" 'Nuff said. Okay, yippie-ki-yay and pulling glass out of your feet before continuing to fight Hans Gruber and the gang.

Jason Statham ain't one to trifle with.

Jason Statham: Few actors truly look the part when cast as a bad ass. For example, Matt Damon has convincingly thrown punches, but he doesn't look like a guy that would end up in a brawl unless Hollywood places him there. Statham, however, doesn't just look the part. He oozes it. Whether because of the shaved square head, permanent five o'clock shadow, accent, doing all of his stunts, already knowing martial arts instead of learning enough to fake his way through a flick, dude may be Hollywood's most inherently convincing macho presence. My wife LOVES to make fun of my man-crush on this cat.

The Most Interesting Man in the World: This is all the explanation required.

Jack Bauer: Our hero has a lot in common with Kobe. Same ability to handle tortuous pain. Same ability to inflict fear in the hearts of many. Same number (24). But does the scale of Jack Bauer's heroics leap frog him past The Mamba. Sure, saving the Lakers is impressive, but try saving the world. Countless times over. Could Kobe get the same results screaming, "Where are the detonators?"

Vic Mackey:
Bauer is a good man who'll stop at nothing to defeat terrorists. The Shield's anti-hero cop is a bad man who'll stop at nothing to defeat L.A.'s gang members... then demand a piece of their illegal action in exchange for not harassing them further. Mackey was macho enough to walk through any neighborhood in Los Angeles without fear.  Day-um!

Clint Eastwood: The Spaghetti westerns. Dirty Harry. William Munny. Frank Horrigan. Eastwood's made a career out of looking seriously scary to mess with. Nearly in his eighties during "Gran Torino," he's still convincingly intimidating telling a punk to "get off my lawn."

Tyler Durden -
"Fight Club's" main/imaginary character quite literally fights for fun, and the bloodier he gets the better time was had. And when not enjoying the simple pleasure of being pummeled, Tyler likes to unwind in a rusty bath filled with dirty water. Kobe can handle discomfort, but he's also a man clearly into the finer things. Can he hang with Durden when it comes to a lifestyle where a stroll through your house requires a Tetanus shot?

Dalton: He's not just a bouncer. He's a "cooler," the guy you call when run-of-the-mill skills at 86-ing undesirable patrons from your establishment just won't cut it. As Brian and I discussed during a recent PodKast, the hero from "Road House" lives by the credo of "pain don't hurt." Kobe undoubtedly plays through pain, but typically seems to think pain, in fact, do hurt. Does that make Dalton more macho?

Randy Macho Man Savage: Well, aside from having enough going on to actually be referred to as the "Macho Man" (and unlike these fellas, when people said it, they meant it), his diet consisted mostly of jerky products. Kobe's famous for playing hurt, and, depending on who you ask, liberal use of the elbow. Does Savage best that "macho" on both counts?

John Rambo: I've never seen Kobe stitch up a huge gash in his own arm. I'm not saying Kobe can't do it. I'm just saying, haven't seen him do it.

My friend's dad: In high school, I had a friend who claimed her father successfully wrestled a bear. I was never able to verify this claim, nor did I try particularly hard to disprove her. In part because I thought the story was really cool, but mostly because I had a huge, entirely one-sided crush on the lady in question. But she always struck me as trustworthy gal (she said she wasn't interested and never went back on her word), so assuming her pops actually did razzle a grizzly, is this mas macho than Kobe?