Mamba Memories (Day 19)
Day 19 of the Anion Sports 25 Days of Christmas blog.
Last night was one of the more memorable moments of the current NBA season. Kobe Bryant had both numbers he wore in his career retired for the Los Angeles Lakers. The numbers 8 and 24 have become synonymous with this walking legend and it was only right that they honored both.
Only Kobe could take all the attention away from one of the better games the Lakers have played this season. They took the defending champion Golden State Warriors to overtime yet again, losing by two points. But this night was about Kobe. And to celebrate, I will discuss my memories of his time in both jerseys.
This number instantly brings to mind someone with unparalleled physical gifts. When I think of young Kobe, I think of that unstoppable force combined with the immovable object. I think of what a three-peat means to a young basketball fan who hasn’t fully immersed himself into following the entire season, especially for a team outside of his market. Kobe managed to spend this time in the number 8 transcending the game. He was a cultural icon and a scoring machine. All the times we’ve spent shooting paper balls into a trash can screaming “KOBE!”. No matter who you are, you recognize his 81-point game versus the Toronto Raptors. This Kobe was unguardable. He was also a flawed human being.
Kobe spent a large portion of his time as #8 battling drama. His feud with Shaq was well documented and it was talked about ad nauseum for almost a decade. I began to learn more about this time in his life as I got older and was enamored more with basketball. Denver still happened, regardless of the outcome. It was a black eye for one of the most popular players in the league and is still used against him to this day. He was a pariah, both hated and feared. Loved by the Laker loyal, hated by every fan in the league. And then he embraced it.
*End of Day 19 post #1*