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Kobe's Fifth Title Proves His Toughest

AP Photo

In the furthest reaches of Kobe Bryant’s(notes) mind, in its darkest, most desperate corner, the personal admonition pulsates. Don’t bleep it up, he always tells himself. Don’t bleep it up.

Everyone had come to Game 7 to commemorate Bryant’s ascension – one title closer to Magic and Michael, one step closer to basketball’s Mt. Rushmore. Only, something had gone awry. He felt like he had been trapped in the kind of nightmare that would awaken him in a cold sweat, the kind that could never happen to him here.

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