Although I’m a huge fan of basketball, I’ve never particularly liked Kobe Bryant. There’s no denying he’s one of the players who made the game as great as it is today, but I personally never grew up sporting his jersey or cheering on the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite my lack of overexcitement for Kobe, I understand that he represents a generation of basketball fans who have aged with him. There are certain names that stick out amongst the greats- Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, and Kobe, just to name a few. Kobe played his final game on Wednesday after a 20 year run in the NBA.
He will finish as a 5-time NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010); 2-time NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010); 2-time scoring champion (2006, 2007); 18-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016); 4-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011); and many others including the Lakers’ record for most points in a career (33,643). In his final game, the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 101-96 while Kobe dropped 60 points. It was the perfect send off for one of the greatest players of our generation. And even I can recognize that.