The feeling is like a break up you saw coming but never wanted to happen, you still have feelings for that person but you know it’s best if you let them go. Time goes on but then you realize the anniversary is approaching and old feelings start to mount, what do you do? The 2016 NBA season is around the corner and while we know, we still are in denial that Kobe Bryant will not be there. He is gone, gone for good, now we must find another, another player to root for, to hate, to love but is anyone in the NBA worthy of that type of attention?
Maybe, maybe not so the only thing left to do is reminisce, think about the good times, the bad times and try to figure out our next move. To see him go was painful but it was for the best. Not for the fans but for the league and the Los Angeles Lakers, they needed him gone so they could grow, but damn, I had no idea it would be this hard.
Mamba, we miss you bro.
We miss #8 shooting air balls in playoff games, we miss the youthful dunks, the crossovers, the Jordan-like facial expressions, we miss him looking up to Shaq and Jordan. But as the years went on he changed, now we will miss those clutch shots. those fadeaways, the Mamba expressions and how he wanted to be BETTER than Shaq and Mike. Those are the traits that’s lacking in today’s game. Everyone wants to be friends and teammates, Kobe wanted to destroy everyone on the court, sometimes even his own players.
He said it when he entered the league, “I will win the Dunk Contest” and as a rookie he did that. He wanted championships, did that, 5 times in 7 trips. He wanted to be an All Star, mission accomplished, 18 times. Wilt had the record for most points scored in a game, Kobe wanted to top that, mission accomplished, well almost, he dropped 81 on the poor Raptors. They said the Lakers were Shaq’s team and without him it was too much for you to carry if something ever happened to him, well in Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Pacers Kobe silenced the world as he took over in overtime while Shaq watched from the bench. At that point everyone started to believe, they knew we just witnessed the next Great One.
But there was that one hurdle to clear before his legacy could be cemented and no matter how many points or titles he won he were still a Laker and no championship could ever amount to him getting one over the hated Boston Celtics, mission accomplished. As for the scoring title, he came close, but it wasn’t meant to be. His last three seasons were painful to watch as I couldn’t help but picture Kobe going out like Jordan, just being greedy, taking the spotlight from younger teammates but he set that record straight from the beginning when it was announced this was to be his last season. I know he didn’t expect the love that was shown his way but he still took heat for it. No one knew who to blame for that, they didn’t know whether to blame Kobe, the media, the Lakers or what but every city he played in, in 2015 gave him the utmost respect, this was not supposed to happen for Kobe. This was reserved for Jordan, but not Kobe.
As the season draws near and we get ready to re-up our subscription for NBA League Pass, or we go to circle the date the Lakers are coming to our city, it hits us, Kobe is gone. We sit for a moment to let it sink in, then we look around the league to find that person that reminds us of him only to be disappointed that he doesn’t exist.
There is, and only will be one Kobe Bryant and for that reason the 2016 season will not be the same.