Kobe’s Legend

(Re-posted from the blog I wrote for NBA.com Philippines on Dec. 1)
Kobe’s Legend
Joey Villar

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. (AP File Photo)
I’m taking a bow to Kobe Bryant.
One of the greatest basketball players of all time.
After two decades, Bryant has finally succumbed to the inevitable and announced in a poem that he’ll retire after the 2015-16 NBA season. His poem, which came out at The Players’ Tribune herehttp://www.theplayerstribune.com/dear-basketball/, itself is emotional.
Truly, parting is such sweet sorrow.
The 37-year-old Kobe was particularly fond of his grandfather, who used to mail him videos of NBA games particularly of the Lakers where his obsession in the team began.
“…You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it…”
Kobe Bryant is synonymous to greatness.
Five-time NBA champion. An NBA Most Valuable Player. 17-time All-Star. Two-time NBA Finals MVP. Four-time All-Star MVP. 11-time All-NBA First Team. Nine-time All-Defensive First Team. Three-time All-Defensive Second Team. Two-time NBA scoring champion. NBA Slam Dunk Champion. The Lakers’ all-time leading scorer. Two-time Olympic gold medal winner.
Kobe, who is drafted straight out of high school from Lower Merion, will also retire as the third leading scorer of all time next to fellow Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone and ahead of no less than the Greatest Player of All Time himself, Michael Jordan. Or the player he was being compared to and considered as an Heir Apparent after being drafted in 1996. In essence, he almost became His Airness.
In other words, Bryant is a fierce, ferocious competitor.
But his one singular trait that only a few could boast about is his loyalty as he played all his seasons with one team, the fabled Lakers where his greatness was encapsulated.
All good things must come to an end.
His farewell season is not going to be Kobe’s liking as the Lakers are, to this writing, down in the gutter with a 2-13 (win-loss) record. Unless miracles happen and the Lakers went on to make the playoffs and dreamily win a championship, there will be no fairy tale ending though for Kobe.
Reading at Kobe’s poem though, it looked like he’s at peace with it.
He will miss shots that he usually makes. He will jump lower than he ever jumped before. His motor will also be a little slower. But make no mistake about it, Kobe will always be Kobe.
So I’m taking a bow to Kobe Bryant.
One of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
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