Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Summing it up in a few words, Kobe Bryant’s stats, championships, hall-of-fame, a legacy remembered. From Lower Merion High School in Ardmore to Los Angeles, his greatness will never be forgotten. Legends never die.
Table of contents
No, Not Kobe
I woke up very early Sunday morning after only a couple hours of sleep. I completed some tasks and then in the early afternoon, I laid in bed to rest for a couple of minutes and the next thing I knew it was 3-4 hours later.
Looking up I noticed the NFL Pro Bowl was on television, quickly I reached for the remote as if the program was going to self destruct a-la Mission Impossible. As I pointed the controller towards the T.V, I saw the NFC defense huddled doing a jump shot celebration. Then the announcers said it.
The Process of Understanding
When I heard the devastating news of the Kobe Bryant tragedy, it was like my brain was moving in slow motion. I was having trouble processing it. I can’t really remember this happening before. Not like that. I knew what I heard, but it took a few seconds for my emotions to catch up and process.
This NBA legend had just died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna. Later on after the initial shock wore off, I was just imagining Kobe knowing what was happening and knowing he was helpless to do anything to save his little girl. I know he tried in that short time to in some way try though.
The night before, like so many NBA fans, I was watching the Lakers versus 76ers game on ABC. I watched as Kobe congratulated LeBron James via tweet on passing him for 3rd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
My Feelings on Kobe
I always liked Kobe Bryant, especially during his last two title runs. Being a Sixers fan, I wanted him to beat Boston in 2008. When he didn’t, I was looking ahead to the 2009 NBA Finals. Hoping to see what everyone wanted to see, Kobe Vs. LeBron. When that didn’t happen, I knew he was going to win another title against Orlando. His title, his way, after years of hardworking helping rebuild the Lakers organization.
In 2010, there was Ron Artest and Queensbridge against Phoenix. Then came the 2010 Finals, the rematch, the chance for some get-back against the Boston Celtics.
This Solidified a renewed rivalry that encompassed the first page of 1960’s basketball and 1980’s NBA lore. To close out the first decade of the new millennium the NBA would be thrown back into the future.
As I sat with a friend who was hoping Boston would win, I knew Kobe was built for this. As the game’s pace began to take form, I was witness to one of the more physical NBA games in recent history. There wasn’t going to be any touch fouls called in this game. Some fans would say it wasn’t played well but I enjoyed it.
This game wasn’t Kobe Bryant’s finest, the future hall-of-famer showed what he was made of in this game though.
He showed his medal when the conditions weren’t ideal. It wasn’t 81 points or anything pretty. It was dirty, He played gritty. Kobe Bryant’s stats read that he shot 6-24 [25%] for the game.
Despite Kobe Bryant’s stats and shooting, he had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Between the contact and not hitting his jumpers, “the Black Mamba” never wavered. He played tough defense, went to the line 15 times, had a steal, and 15 rebounds. 15 boards from a shooting guard, against a big and defensive rebounding efficient Celtics team. Just legendary greatness.
Four of Bryant’s rebounds were on the offensive glass too. With a minute left in the game, Boston threw a second defender at Bryant, Kobe made the pass to Ron Artest for a 3 pointer to seal the game and the championship for the Los Angeles Lakers.
I see this as the type of person and player Kobe Bryant was. In a winner-take-all game to make his legacy even greater, Kobe was not shooting well. This would throw a lot of players off. Instead he did everything else and got points when they presented themselves.
He was scrappy and gritty. He was from Philly and most importantly he was a champion. Kobe Bryant, the champion, by any means necessary. I think the greatest posthumous honor for Kobe Bryant is for him to be inducted alone into the Naismith Hall-of-Fame.
Being a fan of Philadelphia’s professional sports teams, sometimes it can get embarrassing being a member of this fan base. I grew up in the Philadelphia area with many people disliking Kobe and I never understood it. I really don’t think most really had a reason for the dislike and contempt.
If he played for the city, he would have been beloved. From his work ethic to this assassin mentality, Kobe would have been the hometown kid that Philly loved. He would have gone down as a top three Sixers player of all-time. I think some use the 2001 Finals as the reason for disliking Kobe but Shaq beat us, not Kobe.
Philadelphia is iconic for giving players like Sidney Crosby a rough time. I bring up Crosby because I don’t like him. If you ask me why, I’ll tell you he’s a whiney little #@%#!. Other guys who left Philly or refused to play here like J.D Drew or the Scott Rolen situation, it energizes the fans to give them a tough time, with or without batteries.
I never understood the treatment. It didn’t really make any sense. I was at Philly’s All-Star weekend in 2002.
The booing during the game was ignorant, pointless, and probably started by some drunk #@$&s and picked up on like “that seems like a good idea, I’mma do that to, after I pound this beer”. Things like this almost make me wish I wasn’t part of this fanbase. I can’t just root for another team though.
Bryant was a big Philadelphia Eagles fan. Their is a story that the Lakers were watching the Eagles-Giants game on the team plane.
This was the game that the Eagles scored 28 points in the final 7:55 of the game. The story from Kobe was that a couple of his teammates were Giants fans and there was betting going on.
Bryant’s teammates were running their mouths with the massive lead New York had and when Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and the Eagles came back, Kobe went nuts.
Imagine your reaction in this situation and this was his too. Bryant was a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan.
THE H.O.F: An Idea
Kobe Bryant should be elected into the Basketball Hall-of-Fame class of 2020 alone. That was my first thought. This tempestuous thought was running rampant in my mind then I found out who else was eligible.
Duncan and Garnett
I googled the eligible candidates for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame and San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are also first ballot nominees.
Well damn. Ummmmm. HUH. Kobe still should be inducted into the hall-of-fame posthumously by himself. I can’t think of another way for basketball to honor him in a way that is deserving of Kobe Bryant, the championships, the stats, the warrior, the Mamba.