Saturday was a memorable day not just for LeBron James but the entire NBA fraternity as James succeeded Kobe Bryant on the NBA All time scoring list to be third after “The Mailman” and “The Captain’’. LeBron was in a Lakers Jersey in the same city where the “Black Mamba” was born when he took his place as the third all time scorer.
Kobe went on to congratulate his former Olympic teammate for his remarkable feat.
The NBA fraternity was all about the new record when a bomb dropped on us all.
KOBE BRYANT HAD PASSED AWAY. The news hit like a calamity! The celebrations held no meaning after ‘’Harry’’ from the Harry Potter was crucified.
The Staples Centre was warming up to host the 62nd Grammy Award show when its roof practically fell down when the former Lakers shooting guard, a 5 time NBA Champion, 18 time NBA All Star, 2 time Olympic Gold medalist, 2 time NBA finals MVP, 4 time All Star MVP and a-to-be inductee in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame left everyone speechless.
The chopper took off for Thousand Oaks but made it straight to heaven. What went down was not only the rotorcraft but also the ideal, the heartbeat of millions.
In his 20-season career with the Lakers, Kobe changed both the scape and scope of the game. He defined the game for the better part of two decades. Boxed out, guarded where 99% players would look to pass, he would drop a fade away on the faces of Ray Allen and LeBron like it was nothing. You see him running near the baseline and before you know it, reverse and SLAM!
“Black Mamba” as he called himself, portrayed his ferocity and aggression on the court. He came off as ‘unstoppable’ more often than aggressive.
Quick Fact: Kobe was not drafted by the Lakers. He was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. He was traded to the Lakers within just a month.
The 2005-2006 season was when Kobe dropped some serious numbers.
Kobe averaged 43.4 points that January which was a record since Wilt’s 45.8 in March 1963. He went on to record the second most points in a game at 81 with 55 in the second quarter. He had more than five 50+ games and twenty seven 40+ games that season. He scored a 62 in three quarters where he outscored the entire Mavericks team.
Mamba became the only player in history to score 900 field goals.
That season he became one of the only 5 players to have scored 2800 points in a single season.
Looking at all the numbers it is but obvious that he was the league MVP that season. But, it went down differently, Steve Nash was named the MVP instead. Steve had 18.8 points per game while Kobe clocked 35.4 ppg. Why was he not the MVP that season is beyond my comprehension.
Kobe was given the MVP trophy later in 2008 and he won the Championship for the next two consecutive seasons in 2009 and 2010.
He came a long way from that to his last game in April 2016 against Jazz where he finished it his way by scoring a season high 60 points.
The Lakers held a jersey retirement ceremony to honour his contribution to EVERYTHING.
The numbers 8 and 24 were enshrined with the 44, the 33, the 32 that watched over the Staples Centre. To announce his retirement Kobe wrote a poem expressing his love for the game. The poem eventually turned into an Oscar winning short film narrated by Kobe himself.
What better way to conclude this tribute than to quote a few lines from the man.
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:
I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.
I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.
And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always,