Today, I think we all know what comes to our mind when we hear the name Kobe Bryant. We think “legend” or “spectacular” and in some cases we think of him as a terrible person and how we dislike him. But in his final game in the NBA, we should have all loved him, and there is no denying it. On April 14th 2016, a home game against the Utah Jazz, millions of people watched from home as Kobe got to play one last time. As I was watching the pregame show I was thinking to myself, “He’s only going to score 24 points if that, there is no way he can score more.” Kobe got off to a slow start going 0-5 in the first six minutes of the game. When that happened I questioned what I had said earlier and started to doubt if he was even going to score 20 points. Then he started to heat up. He started making unbelievable shots just like he did in his prime. I could not believe what I was seeing, a 37 year old basketball player playing just like he did during his MVP season eight years ago. It was truly amazing.
Then halftime came around and I was getting ready for bed. Then about ten minutes later I realized my mistake. I went back downstairs and watched the rest of the game and that was one of the best decisions I had made. About halfway through the 3rd quarter Bryant came back into the game and he had no plan of slowing down. He was making everything he put up no matter how heavily guarded he was. Then when the fourth quarter came around the Lakers were down double digits and that’s when he showed he still has it. It reminded me of his 81-point game against Toronto in 2006 when anything he would put up would go in. He single-handedly brought the Lakers back into the game. Down by 10 with two minutes left in the game Kobe scored 13 unanswered points to give the Lakers the lead. Kobe scored his final NBA points off of two free throws to put the game away. Then with about 8 seconds left Kobe got the ball at the other end of the court and threw an overhead lob pass to Jordan Clarkson who dunked it with authority, giving Kobe his last assist in the NBA.
Kobe leaves the NBA with the third most points in NBA history. He was an 18x All-Star who also had 5 scoring titles. The list goes on and on with all the records he holds but his best accomplishment was leaving an impact on the league that will last forever. Kobe Bryant changed the game of basketball forever and all I can say is that there will never ever be another Kobe Bryant in the history of basketball.
Thank you Kobe Bryant for all the memories.