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NBA Memoires: “Bryant…to Shaq!”

March 22, 2013

After I missed out on the historic Slam Dunk Contest in February, I started to watch NBA games on the test channel. My parents thought I was the most pathetic thing ever and decided to get ‘Canal+’. A package of channels which included two NBA games a week. After things got set up, I was ready to follow my favourite player, Shaq, begin his quest to his first NBA championship. First opponent? The Sacramento Kings. So my first ever Live game was game 1 between Los Angeles and Sacramento.

I have to admit, I don’t recollect everything about the Kings’ series or the Suns’ series. I do know, Kobe was spectacular against the Suns. He was no doubt the MVP that series, shutting down Jason Kidd and being highly efficient on the offensive end. Even the Portland series, I don’t remember a whole lot. “Why are you even writing this?” Well, because that Game 7 is engraved in my memory. The entire game Shaq was struggling from the field, not being his dominant self. When his little jumphook from the right block wasn’t going down, I knew we were in trouble. None of the Lakers could hit an outside shot too, I was hurting! Only young ‘Frobe’ was playing up to his standards. Portland was simply dominating, things went easy (in hindsight, maybe a little bit too easy). I remember Sheed destroying Horace Grant and Steve Smith just being a gunner from downtown.

The Blazers were all over Shaq.

I was sitting in the couch, absolutely in disbelief. The Lakers had a commanding 3-1 lead, the Blazers got back to tie it, but really no one believed the Blazers could upset the Lakers in Staples Center to win the Western Conference. I was one of those people. After a timeout, the whole demeanour changed. A sense of urgency was clearly noticeable amongst the Lakers’ vets. I’m talking Brian Shaw, Glen Rice and Robert Horry. Bryant went into overdrive on the defensive end, highlighted by a monster block that would shift the momentum in LA’s favour.

Shaw and Fisher each hit big shots to erase the Blazers’ lead completely. A Kobe jumper and a pair of free throws put the Lakers up by 4. Portland experienced a major letdown in the fourth and managed only 8 points. Staples Center was buzzing like crazy and I felt like a bad fan, because I already had lost hope at the start of the fourth quarter. My heart was pounding as I sat quietly in my couch. Then this happened…

I went from practically braindead to apesh*t in a second. Jumping up and down, I don’t even remember if I actually watched those last seconds or not. I just kept celebrating, who cares! Keep in mind people, I was only 11 years old and this was possibly my 6th NBA game I watched in my life!

Reminiscing about it now… It still gives me chills. Good times!

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