5-time NBA Champion
2-time NBA Finals MVP
3rd on the NBA all-time scoring list
18-time NBA All-Star
11-time 1st Team All-NBA Selection
4-time All-Star game MVP
2-time Olympic Gold Medalist
20 seasons on the Lakers
81 points in a single game (2nd most in NBA History)
I’m not a basketball card collector but I’ve always been a Lakers fan. I grew up near Buffalo, NY, no NBA team. So I picked the Lakers as my team because as a kid I loved Magic Johnson. When everyone else had Air Jordan’s I was wearing Magic’s Converse. “Showtime” was what I thought basketball was about. When I played I preferred the spectacular pass to a teammate over scoring myself. So I naturally became a Kobe fan when he was drafted by the Hornets and traded (for Vlade Divac) to the Lakers.
Kobe was going to the NBA about the same time I was going to college. I feel like I’ve spent my entire adult life watching him and rooting for him. Loving the 5 NBA championships (Remember I’m a Bills fan so any Championship win is a big deal to me) and suffering a little bit over the last few years of injuries and horrible teams. Over his career Kobe Bryant has been a bit of a polarizing figure. Some questionable off-court actions led many to hate him. But his talent, competitiveness, and tenacity cannot be denied. I could go on and on and on and on about Kobe Bryant. But I as I sit here watching his last game, with his streaking shooting and trademark scowl, I can’t help but be thankful I’ve had the honor to watch one of the best ever play for the last 20 years.
It’s been an interesting season with going away gifts from each stop on the schedule. This game isn’t going well. He’s shooting 7 for 20, and has 22 points at the half. But everyone is out to see him finish his career. From Jay Z to Shaq to Jack are all there to say goodbye to a legend. Even ESPN’s coverage include and “Kobe’s Farewell” watermark in the corner of the screen. And the commercials during the game feature Kobe. It’s all pretty cool to see.
Here are a couple of Kobe cards I got in the past year. Both from some Panini Black Friday packs I bought online. Here’s to you Kobe Bean Bryant. Thanks for keeping me an NBA fan all these years.
Okay, I don’t know what to say about this game. I just couldn’t go to sleep on this game.
Kobe now has 56, the Lakers are down 1, under a minute to play. Kobe with the jumper, 58 points and the Lakers lead. You couldn’t write a better ending to the Kobe story. The crowd is electric. Jazz miss, foul Kobe. He will go to the line for two shots. Makes them both, 60 points tonight. (Most in the NBA this season) Lakers Win! That is how you go out #24!