Los Angeles, Ca – Will there ever be another Los Angeles Laker like the Greatest of All Time, Kobe Bryant? Indeed, will there ever be another NBA player in history like Kobe Bryant? After a 20-season NBA career, the GOAT, No. 8, No. 24, the greatest player ever, is hanging up his sneakers. The Staples Center is sold out for tonight, has been sold out for this game for months with a crazy buzz of energy – all for Bryant. Great job to the NBA schedulers who allowed No. 24 to finish his career on the Lakers’ home floor, the only floor Kobe has ever called home court.
Two decades after entering the league as the Number One draft pick for the Charlotte Hornets; a score after being the thirteenth pick overall in the 1996 NBA Draft; a lifetime after being acquired by then-Lakers General Manager Jerry West, Kobe is still giving fans of the game feelings. Brought to Los Angeles by the man who is himself The Logo of the NBA, Kobe began his journey to greatness when he was so young he needed a cosigner on his first NBA contract because he was a minor.
How silly do those GMs who chose one through twelve on that day feel? One can only speculate as Kobe’s GOAT numbers jump off the page:
NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
5 x NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)
2 X Olympic Basketball Gold Medalist (2008 Beijing, 2012 London)
2 X NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
18 x NBA All Star (1998, 2000 – 2016)
4 X NBA All Star MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
15 X ALL-NBA Team (1999 – 2013)
12 X NBA ALL-Defense (2000 – 2004, 2006 – 2012)
2 X NBA Scoring Champion (2006 – 2007)
NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion (1997)
NBA ALL-Rookie Second Team 1997
All of these accolades earned with the blood, sweat and thousands of hours the “Black Mamba” has spent on the floor without a crowd, without a team, just a ball and a hoop.
Why, then, does Kobe only have one NBA MVP? Haters gonna hate. Dominance engenders jealousy. It is simply insane that the most athletic, competitive, driven, and gifted player in his era hasn’t been recognized more often. I guess people hate on greatness even when it’s so glaringly obvious. Even without scoring another point, Kobe leaves as the Lakers all time leading scorer in team history, a record which may stand for ages.
Asked about how he will approach his final game, Kobe didn’t hesitate, “just like the others. Same routine. Same people.” All business for the silent assassin!
Love him or hate him, true basketball fans will remember where they were April 13th, 2016 when Kobe laced ‘em up for the last time. Woe to the Jazz. He’ll be playing their tune!
13th PICK in Draft finishing his career on 13th of April!