Folks who know me know my 2 favourite sports in no particular order are Basketball & Football (well in alphabetical order then lol), played & watched both when I can practically my whole life & will continue to do so for the rest of it.
Arsenal FC is my football team (Soccer to you Yanks ) but let’s not talk about them in this piece because this season has been a failure with regards to them, Los Angeles Lakers are my basketball team (Lakeshow all day!), we do have our ‘haters’ just because we are the most successful basketball franchise in history though the Boston Celtic & Chicago Bulls fans might want to say otherwise (numbers don’t lie period), or maybe because we have (now had) Kobe, the hate was just there, we ignore it & move along. My Dad, bless his soul always said ‘If you don’t have haters, you ain’t doing it right’ so we took the hate as a badge of honour & won championships with it, haters gonna hate right!
For some weird symbiotic reason both my favourite football & basketball teams always enjoy their successful & low periods around the same time, if Arsenal is doing bad, Lakers do same & vice versa, weird I know but that’s team sports for you.
April 13 2016 is a date I won’t forget in the sporting calendar, I stayed up late in the early hours here in the UK to watch one of the best who ever did play his final game for my basketball team, no lie but I think I felt tears welling up every now and again while watching, I’m still awake hours after the game because I am excited & sad at the same time to sleep, it is indeed the end of an era.
Kobe has haters & detractors (see a couple of paragraphs up about haters) when it comes to his professional & personal life which I can’t even be bothered to go into (Google & Bing yourself). Love or loathe him one thing you can’t deny is his God given talent, some rate him arguably as the best basketball player ever as the numbers & stats don’t lie! Everyone has their own personal choice of where he is placed in basketball & sporting history, personally he is in my top 5 that’s includes ‘Jordan, West, Johnson, James’ (man that was hard when you omit Jabbar, Malone, Duncan eeek!), why Kobe means so much more to me because it felt like we grew together, I was around from when he signed to the Lakers, the team he supported as a boy, I witnessed his highs & lows in real time and saw a boy/man become a living legend right in front of me, playing for MY TEAM! Most of Magic Johnson’s greatness I watched from old NBA tapes & caught the tail end of his amazing career, Michael Jordan had me dreaming as a boy that I could be him *laffs* but Kobe was for me, my generation, from draft pick to retirement I was there to watch it all & understand it all.
What a roller coaster 20 years, the broken records like the 81 points in a single game, the 12 three pointers in a game (which Stephen Curry has just recently matched), the belief & winning mentality which spread throughout the whole team, Kobe through sheer force of will at times single handedly carried the whole team, bang average players have championship rings to their names because of one dude, KOBE ‘BLACK MAMBA’ BRYANT!
Every sport has a genius that stands out from the pack (RIP Johan Cruyff) & Kobe’s the same for basketball, a genius who transcends even the sport he or she is known for, as it’s #ThrowbackThursday I will be wearing the original No.8 jersey he started out with in as dedication all day, well when I wake up after I finally get some sleep. I have put together a quick video montage of his last game, his far well speech and his jump shot to hit 58 points for the night before he went on to make it 60 with 2 free throws. What a way to bow out of the game, hitting 60 points, THAT’S KOBE FOR YOU ☺🏀(press play for the play)
Thanks for the 20 years, thanks for playing for my team, thanks for the championships, thanks for the talent.
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