Kobe’s Last Hurrah by Alex Nino

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Kobe’s last hurrah heals wounds of a dreadful season.

For the first time in twenty years, the Los Angeles Lakers roster no longer includes Kobe Bryant. The first seventeen years seemed like a fantasy for Lakers’ fans, when they witnessed one of the greatest, most ruthless, competitors in the history of sports. He was an old school, gritty player that did not flop, or even flinch, when someone pretended to throw a ball at his face. This is the Kobe that Los Angeles grew to love and the rest of the basketball world had the utmost respect for.

Then came the injuries and the dreaded final season. Bryant drew the ire of the basketball world, and even some Lakers’ fans, throughout the course of his final season due mostly to his fake “happy-go-lucky” attitude and atrocious shot selection. The constant mingling and joking with his opponents while they dismantled both his team and him was “un-Kobe” like. At times, it seemed he was more worried with what his peers thought of him than he was with his genuine concern for winning a game. Multiple writers, including yours truly, were desperately hoping he would call it quits mid season and save himself from any further embarrassment. Then came the grand finale.

Thankfully for everyone, the last image of Bryant in an NBA basketball game did not consist of smile on his face after another sub-thirty percent shooting night and a blowout loss. Realistically, we hoped for 20-25 points on a shooting percentage that was slightly better than laughable. But as we learned throughout his career, Kobe Bryant is not real. After the opening ceremonies had concluded, that smile disappeared and the happy-go-lucky attitude was long gone. We got to witness him carry his sorry Lakers to victory en route to his sixth career 60 point showing. The final three clutch shots brought tears to the eyes of the fans who realized once more that greatness was exiting the building. For one night, teams records were thrown out the window, and the Lakers felt as if they had won their 17th championship on the back of a fearless leader. We did not see Kobe Bryant that night, we saw the Black Mamba

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Kobe’s Last Hurrah by Alex Nino