Kobe Bryant And The End Of An Era In NBA Basketball

Kobe Bryant Is Playing His Last Season For The Lakers And The NBA

The era of isolation plays and hero ball in the NBA is nearing its end with Kobe Bryant’s imminent retirement.

Kobe Bryant played one of his last games against the San Antonio Spurs and his team lost. By a lot. 22 points to be exact. As I was watching this game, I realized that I’m old as dirt and that this would be one of Kobe’s last games against my favorite team.

As a San Antonio Spurs fan, I’ve always disliked Kobe Bryant and his Lakers teams. I was always of the opinion that Kobe was overrated and that he was a ball-hog. Even now, his retirement won’t change my opinion of his skills. My opinions aside though, I can objectively say that Kobe has made the NBA better.

Competitive and Determined

What you appreciate most about Kobe Bryant was his determination and competitiveness. Other than Michael Jordan and Kevin Garnett, I’ve never seen anyone who’s as focused and as intense the Black Mamba. Even now, I still remember those games where he had to do everything in order to get the win.

Shooting 3s. Defending the opposing team’s best player. Rebounds, assists, you name it and Kobe Bryant did it. His 81-point outburst against the Toronto Raptors lives on as one of the most jaw-dropping individual feats in basketball. Never mind the Raptors playing bad defense, 81 points is still 81 points. Before Stephen Curry was lighting up teams with 20+ point quarters, KB24 was doing that on an almost nightly basis.

Not Perfect

Kobe’s competitiveness and late-game heroics came at a price. Whether it was Shaquille O’Neal or Smush Parker, Kobe just seemed to rub his teammates the wrong way. Jordan was the same when he was younger but he eventually became a better teammate when they won those three-peats. Kobe? His first three-peat only seemed to drive him to treat his teammates worse. How many of his teammates do you see jumping up on the bench when he scored those 81 points in Toronto?

Kobe Bryant Defined His Era

He’s not the best or most efficient shooter in history but he is one of the most prolific. The Lakers won and lost because of Kobe Bryant. His brand of isolation and hero ball became what other kids my age aspired to growing up. Looking back, that type of basketball became a staple in the NBA. Throw your best player the ball and let him get to work. That looked good on TV but it ultimately stagnated the sport.

What Kobe’s Retirement Really Means

I think Kobe himself is aware that his game and body isn’t cut out for today’s NBA. We still see him jack up shots but his body just can’t seem to keep up with his game anymore. I certainly welcome his retirement but at the same time, I can’t say I’m happy about it. Although there are more talented players in the NBA today, a lot of them lack the competitive fire that made Kobe and his generation special.

The Los Angeles Lakers still has three more games against my San Antonio Spurs this season. Even with the Lakers as they are now, I’ll still watch these games to see Kobe compete. Just like there won’t be another Michael Jordan, I believe that there will only be one Kobe Bryant. There is no denying Kobe’s greatness and his contributions to the sport. He will always be one of the best to suit up for the purple and gold and to ever play the game. I still dislike Kobe but he gets my respect for the dedication and competitiveness he showed when he played.

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