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 my body for a couple of minutes.
Next thing I knew it was waking up 3-4 hours later. Looking up I noticed the NFL ProBowl was on the television. I quickly reached for the remote as if the program was going to self destruct A-La Mission Impossible. As I pointed the controller I saw the NFC defense huddled doing a jumpshot celebration. Then the announcer said it.
The Process of Understanding
When I heard the devastating news of the Kobe Bryant tragedy for the first time it was like my brain was moving in slow motion trying to process 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.
The night before like so many 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 2 title runs. Being a Sixer fan I wanted him to beat Boston in 2008. When he didn’t in 2009 I was hoping for Kobe VS. LeBron in the NBA Finals. When it didn’t happen I knew he was going to win another title against Orlando. His title.
In 2010, there was Ron Artest and Queensbridge against Phoenix. Then came the 2010 Finals, a 2008 rematch versus The Boston Celtics that Solidified a renewed rivalry that encompassed the first page of 1960’s and 1980’s NBA history. To close out the 1st decade of the new millenium the NBA would be thrown back to the future.
With the series tied at three games a piece, game 7 of the 2010 Celtics-Lakers series was a basketball fan’s dream. I know ESPN and ABC programmers were feeling exactly the same way.
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. I enjoyed it.
I mention this game not because it was Kobe’s last championship. The future hall of famer showed who he was in big moments when the conditions weren’t ideal. When It wasn’t 81 points or 60 through 3 quarters. In this game Kobe Bryant shot 6-24 [25%]
Still he had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Between the contact and not hitting his jumper, Kobe Bryant never wavered. He played tough defense, went to the line 15 times, had a steal, and 15 rebounds. 15 boards from the guard against a big and rebounding efficient Celtic team. Four of Bryant’s rebounds were on the offensive glass. With a minute left as Boston threw a second defender at Bryant, Kobe made the pass to Ron Artest for a 3 pointer to seal the game and title for Los Angeles.
I see this as the type of person and player Kobe Bryant was. In a winner take all game for his legacy, Kobe was not shooting well. This would throw alot of players off. Instead he did everything else and got points when presented. He was scrappy and gritty. He was from Philly and most importantly he was a champion. Kobe Bryant, the champion, by any means neccessary. I think the greatest posthumous honor for Kobe is for him to be inducted alone into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Being a fan of Philadelphia’s professional sports teams sometimes I feel ashamed or embarrassed in the fan base. I grew up in the Philadelphia area with so many people disliking Kobe and I never understood it. I’d ask why? I really don’t think most knew why.
Philadelphia is iconic for giving players like Sidney Crosby a rough time. I bring up Crosby because I just 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 and players to give them a tough time, with or without batteries.
Bryant I never understood the treatment. It didn’t really make any sense. I was at Philly All-Star weekend in 2002. The booing during the game was ignorant, pointless, and probably started by some drunk #@$&s and picked up on “that seems like a good idea”. Things like this almost make me wish I wasn’t part of this fanbase, but I am. I can’t just root for another team. Kobe Bryant was also part of the same fanbase that booed him. He too couldn’t just change that because he grew up loving it, just like you did.
THE H.O.F: An Idea
Kobe Bryant should be elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame this upcoming year alone. This was my first thought. Kobe should be inducted alone into the Hall of Fame was the tempestuous thought running rapid in my mind. Who else is eligible came next.
Duncan and Garnett
When I google the eligible canidates for the 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame, I see Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Well damn. Ummmmm. HUH. Kobe still should be inducted alone.