1.) A Boy vs. A Man:
As an young 18-year-old bull straight out of high school into the pros, Kobe Bean Bryant took coming off the bench in his early years very hard. Lakers coach, Phil Jackson, even says,
Yes, quite often I could feel his hatred. I’m sure Kobe was pissed when I wrote in “The Last Season” that he was uncoachable. And, yes, we were often at loggerheads. He wanted more freedom and I wanted him to be more disciplined. This is a normal source of friction thing between coaches and players on just about every level of competition. But when I came back for my second stint with the Lakers, Kobe and I worked it all out. I gave him more of a license to do his thing, as long as it stayed within the overall context of the triangle. And we did win two more championships. Anyway, I’ve always seen Kobe as a truly great player, an intelligent guy and a remarkable person.”
Young Kobe missed the playoffs only once, but as he closed his last year wearing the legendary number 8, he and the Lakers suffered one of the most embarrassing losses in the NBA Finals against the tough defense of the Detroit Pistons. At that moment was were several fans looked as young Kobe the “Villein” as Shaq and the Lakers parted their ways.
The young Kobe turned into one of the leagues most passionate competitors in history as he added one digit to his idle’s number and rocked number 24. His 24 era achieved an accomplishment that his number 8 era wish it had, an MVP. In 2008, Kobe won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, just after he won the league’s scoring championship in 2007.
2.) Surpassing Michael Jordan:
Yes, Kobe has passed Michael Jordan. May not be in rings but on December 14, 2014 Kobe surpassed Michael Jordan in scoring against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to USA TODAY, Jordan says,
“I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone,” Jordan, now controlling owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said. “He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I’ve enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”
3.) Two Gold medals:
Kobe Bryant won two Olympic Gold Medals in the years of 2008 and 2012.
In 2008, Bryant won his first any only NBA MVP award of his 20-year career. Bryant at that time was at his prime in his career. Bryant says he was shocked to win the MVP award saying,
“I didn’t expect this award would come to me,” Bryant said. “I’m surprised. I’ve played pretty well in other seasons. Our team hasn’t been as good. Things just fell into place.”
LeBron James tells ESPN,
He’s been the best player the last five, six years. I’m glad he won it. His team had a great year, finishing first in the West.”
5.) The Black Mamba Birth:
One of Bryant’s most darkest hours in his career as he created the personia, “The black mamba” to suppress the personal issues he was going through into motivation.
According Business Insider,
In 2003, Bryant was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in Colorado. While Bryant does not mention the case directly, he does spend a good deal of time in the documentary talking about how close his family came to breaking up.
“I hear everything the crowd is saying. I hear it.” Bryant says following a clip during which Boston Celtics fans can be heard chanting “Kobe sucks!” “So, it’s like this place where it was my refuge is now being bombarded with all kinds of things they would say.”
“I had to separate myself,” Kobe explains. “It felt like there were so many things coming at once. It was just becoming very, very confusing. I had to organize things. So I created The Black Mamba.”
During his Showtime special, Bryant revealed during his sexual assault case, his wife, Vanessa Bryant, had a miscarried. Kobe has revealed his guilt saying,
“The reality is it happened because of me. That’s something I have to deal with.”
6.) No Shaq, No Problem:
After Shaq’s departure from Los Angeles, many though that young Kobe would never be able to carry a team solo as the leader. From his selfish behavior and was labeled as a “Ball Hog.”
Bryant has had just about the same success, maybe ever more after Shaq left the Lakers. From back to back championships, growing as the leader of the franchise, and mentoring the young players into men.
Yes, Kobe and Shaq had a huge falling out. Maybe more heated than both men will admit to, but Kobe didn’t need Shaq. Nor did Shaq need Kobe, both needed one another to give fans as myself the love for the game and the many, many memories.
7.) The Battle With Father Time:
Father time is undefeated. All the NBA greatest have fallen to Father time. But, to Kobe, it was just another challenge. In the words of LeBron, not one, not two, not three… Kobe has recovered and suffered multiple injuries that we might not even have knowledge of. Going day after day dealing with these injuries on back to back games has to be extremely painful. The one injury that sealed the retirement was of course his ahchilles injury in 2013. Kobe was just never quit the same player after that.
8.) The Celtics Rivalry:
One of the most historic rivalries in sports today, the Los Angeles Lakers verses the Boston Celtics. Most don’t know but Kobe almost was drafted as a Boston Celtics, according to ESPN.
During the Lakers revenge Finals match-up against the Boston Celtics in 2010, Kobe unleashed one of his greatest NBA Finals appearances and scored 38 points. Lakers would go on to beat the defending NBA Champions, Boston Celtics in 7 games after a amazing 2nd half effort. Lakers took home the NBA championship, which would be Bryant’s last and final NBA Finals game.