It is the fourth quarter. L.A is down 109-107. 3:10 left in the game. Kobe Bryant tries to do a move he does every game. He dribbles past his defender, Harrison Barnes, and takes a hard fall. Kobe’s holding his knee. It does not look good for Kobe. He shoots free throws on one leg. Kobe is walking off the court. What exactly happened?
The NBA playoffs started April 20. Usually I would give a preview on the playoffs, me being that kind of guy, but there is something more special to discuss. The Black Mamba, Vino, my hero, what ever you want to call him, has fallen. Kobe “Bean” Bryant took a hard spill against the Golden State Warriors. It has been reported as an Achilles tear and Kobe is out for the season. He may also end his career (if he does I will cry so hard), but that is not a decision for me to make. Nevertheless, for the long time we wait, why don’t we take a look and reflect over the historic, memorable career of Kobe from my point of view.
I first watched Kobe Bryant during a very special game of his. It was January of 2006; The Mamba played the Dallas Mavericks. On that day, Kobe put up 62 points in the first three quarters. He sat out the rest of the fourth, giving his team a 20-point lead. As I watched, the man seemed invincible, like a superhero. Keep in mind that I was going through a superhero phase at the time. Anyway, Kobe could do no wrong, and from there, I did my best to keep track of him. I did not watch, but heard about, the 81-point game. I learned that Kobe was drafted at 19 in 1996, even though he was academically gifted and could have gone to a school like Duke or North Carolina. He earned three championships with the Shaqtus, Superman Shaquille O’Neal, and was injury riddled in his first couple of seasons.
From then on, I got everything Kobe I could get my hands on. Posters, books, everything with his face or number on it. I watched the Lakers get humiliated in the 2008 NBA Finals, then come back and win it twice in a row. I watched guys like Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown leave and guys like Steve Blake and Metta World Peace come in. I saw the Lakers get swept by the Mavericks in 2011, and not do so well in 2012. However, one thing was for sure, and that was that I never left the Lakers. Being swept? No problem. Losing the playoffs again? There is next year. The bottom line is, I will always be a Laker fan, I will always be a Kobe fan, and I will not forget that Kobe has always been my role model. Kobe was, is, and always will be one of the best to play the game I love oh, so much. Get well soon, Mr. Bryant!