Consider Saturday night the latest example. After watching his team cough up an 18-point advantage for the second consecutive game, Bryant seized control in the fourth quarter. Bryant stepped up. With the lead whittled to three, Bryant spun around the right elbow and dropped in a 21-footer outstretched arms of two defenders. And with L.A. nursing a five-point lead with 35 seconds left Bryant, wearing Grant Hill as a sweater, canned a 23-foot turnaround from almost the same spot. Bryant's 37-point, six-rebound effort in Game 6 went beyond any language. He was dominant, but even dominating players can be contained when swarmed by multiple defender. There aren't too many players in the history of the NBA that can make those plays. I always commend Kobe for his competitiveness, his preciseness, the way he studies the game and his goal as far as being the best player ever. He hit the 30-point mark five times in the series, pulling into a tie with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (75) for second place on the all-time playoff list of 30-point games. He trails only Jordan. He averaged 33.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.2 rebounds in the series. So Kobe has the Lakers flying back to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season, seeking to defend last year's title, renewing the age-old rivalry with Boston and maybe the only question left to ask is how far up the ladder of all-time greats he has climbed? Dare we say? If the Lakers knock off the Celtics, Bryant will have five rings, just one less than Michael Jordan. Another game, another series, another close-out, another hammer dropped, another rung up the ladder. He's getting close to the top. I take my hat off for KOBE BRYANT a.k.a BLACK MAMBA.