Sunday's ending aside, Bryant's recent scoring splurge has been a matter of necessity, not ego, all in the service of winning. That has silenced—for now, at least—the critics who accused him of being selfish, especially early this season when the Lakers got off to a 3-9 start while O'Neal recovered from toe surgery. Even assistant coach Tex Winter, who is a notorious crank on such matters, approves of Kobe's recent fusillade. "Normally we don't like him taking shots under such duress," says Winter. "But he's got such a hot hand that you have to ride it." That's high praise, coming from the man who invented the triangle, an offense designed to promote sharing.
So there you have it, LeBron: the road map from phenom to superstar. You merely have to work harder and longer than anyone else, stay confident, marry a woman who makes you a better person, win over your critics and, somewhere along the way, learn to score like Wilt Chamberlain. No problem. Now get to it.