This blog is not about basketball, but if you know me then you know that I love the Lakers, and I loved Kobe Bryant just as much. His untimely passing last week, along with that of his daughter and eight other people, is still a shock to the system for me and millions of other people in greater Los Angeles and around the world.
I loved him so much as a fan of basketball and the Lakers that I must leave a tribute too.
If you know basketball, and you’re like me, then you regard him as the single greatest shooting guard in the history of the game. If you know basketball, and you’re not like me, then you regard him as the second-greatest shooting guard in the history of the game. There are no other conclusions to my mind, yet. I’m not here to argue with anyone, but if you’re reading this then I’ll tell you that, with all due respect to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant did things on the basketball court that Jordan only dreamed of. Jordan may have been the more successful player because he won six rings and went six for six in the finals, three-peating twice. That’s tough to beat. But in my opinion, Kobe emulated the player he grew up idolizing; chased him; caught him; and then took his game to the next level. If you were watching those games and trust your own eyeballs then the evidence was plain to see. Plus, he had a pretty successful career in his own right.
I admit I don’t watch as much basketball as I used to.
But there is only one player, to my mind, who played quite like this. “What did I just see?”
There is only one player, damn it, that ever roused anyone in Boston to chant “MVP” to a Laker out of respect for what they were witnessing. In the Garden, no less. I never thought I’d see that in my life. It never even occurred to me to think it. Boston knows what I’m talking about. That’s a proud franchise, and I give them credit for it.
Hopefully, we’d extend them the same respect if the shoe were on the other foot.
But they’d have to produce a player of his transcendent greatness.
And they may, but there will never be another Kobe Bryant.