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Kobe – A Working Title

October 12, 2014

Lost in a search for a title, I realized my painful brain search was fitting to the enigma ‘Kobe Bryant’. I was thinking ‘A Fitting End To A Legend’, ‘American Psycho’, ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’ and so on… Truth is, throughout his illustrious career, we’ve seen so many sides of Bryant, it’s hard to punch out one title that sums it up.

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After shooting 8 airballs vs Utah, Shaq says some memorable words which launches Kobe to superstardom

The original intention was to write a preview for this year’s upcoming ’14-’15 NBA season, but then I came to the conclusion that the only thing that I could really think about was whether or not Kobe was going to have a successful comeback. Of course you have the Lebron James Cleveland Love story (pun intended, yes I’m a word magician), the Comeback by D-Rose and arguably the best generation of rookies since 2003.

Still, I think the world wants to see Kobe succeed in his last dance. I’m not a huge Kobe fan by any means, but after seeing Shaq, T-Mac & J-Kidd retire, Kevin Garnett being a shell of his former self and Steve Nash prolonging his career on a shaky back, I’ve become nostalgic to a generation that’s running on fumes… and Kobe is the last in line to write a fitting end to the baggy pants chapter.

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Shaq carrying an injured Kobe during the 2000 Finals

Kobe: A Love/Hate relationship

‘Frobe’

The 21 year old who was arguably the NBA’s best defender and creative playmaker. The youngster who’s glass ceiling wasn’t yet set. The kid who copied every single one of Jordan’s moves and succeeded in it too.

That’s ‘The Good’

Bryant was also the guy who desperately wanted to be the hero in the closing moments. You could debate whether it was ‘being competitive’ or being an outright selfish D-Bag to gather fame. But still, most of the time, he succeeded in this ‘hero’ role.

That’s ‘The Bad’

During the Lakers’ Threepeat, I couldn’t help but be amazed at Kobe’s offensive and defensive abilities. As an avid Shaq fan, I rooted for Kobe to have historic numbers himself. So Shaq & Kobe could be the best Dynamic Duo Ever. In which I think they succeeded… My love story with Kobe ended during the Finals in ’04 against the Detroit Pistons. After Karl Malone’s injury Kobe took over every game…

But not in a good way.

His Field Goal attempts became uncontrollable and he ignored Shaq when he had position on the block. Shaquille O’Neal was up against Ben Wallace, a 6’9 Power Forward who pretended he could guard O’Neal. Shaq shot 64% from the field during the Finals and Kobe shot below 40%. ‘Nuff said. Shortly after the Finals, Shaq demanded a trade and therefore the end of Greatest Duo Ever. That’s ‘The Ugly’

After The Trade, he finally had his own team and he went HAM. The scoring titles, the 81 point game, the 50 point games, etc. You can loosely compare these seasons with the early MJ seasons. Stats on stats but no W’s.

Pau

Further proof that ‘Greatness’ gets defined by a bit of luck too.

I’m not hating, this goes for the greats too: Duncan, Shaq, Magic, MJ, Bird. Look at their teammates, now look at T-Mac’s teammates. Now continue reading…

After losing in the Finals against a ridiculously stacked Boston Celtics team, it became clear that LA just needed to fine tune the Triangle with Pau to become a Championship favorite.

Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum AND Pau Gasol ?

Good luck with that.

Everyone remembers the NBA Finals against Boston, but it was Kobe’s complete offensive and defensive performance against the Orlando Magic that really blew my mind. This includes one of the most ridiculous shots ever over one of the best shot blockers ever.

Greatness

What I’m trying to say is, I didn’t hate him anymore. You can’t hate on greatness.

It was during this time in his career he showed himself as a leader and thus winning his only MVP trophy during the regular season.

He looked human, someone you could be cool with. And even Kobe fans must admit, he didn’t look like that earlier in his career.

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The downside was, his knee problems began to catch up with him. Not so much on the offensive side of things, but defensively. Once a lockdown defender, he found himself limited. He used to gamble for steals all the time but he was athletically so gifted he could make up for it.

Not anymore.

Losing Phil Jackson, Ariza, Fisher, Bynum etc. didn’t help either.

Hring D’Antoni neither.

And then suddenly you realize Kobe Bryant has been in the league for over 15 years.

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Kobe limping off the court vs. Golden State

Achilles

Injuries at that point are bound to happen and when they do you realize what you’ve been blessed to look at.

A Legend

Every basketball fan had trouble keeping it together when Kobe gave that postgame interview. You saw hate, pain and love at the same time. Possibly the first time Kobe Bryant felt mortal in his entire career. A moment where he realized his career would be over some day. But not like this, not in the foreseeable future and certainly not now… And everyone watching that interview knew the same thing.

That’s why I keep thinking about Kobe and not Rose or James.

I have a history with him

I loved him, hated him and now I simply respect him

Because you cannot hate on greatness Here’s to you having a historic season Bean A Shaq Fan

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