How I Remember Kobe Bryant
Sports fans all over the world are mourning the death of NBA Star Kobe Bryant and for the wife and the three children he left behind.
I’ve never been a big NBA fan but if I were asked who my favorite players were I could say in chronological order: Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Jabaar played during my childhood and patented the sky hook, which I practiced as I grew up on our patio turned
basketball court in our back yard.
When I was in high school, you were either a Larry Bird fan or Magic Johnson fan. I chose Larry Bird and followed him a little bit until his Indiana State team lost to Magic’s Michigan State team in the 1979 Championship Game.
I’ve never owned any Air Jordan shoes. I was a little old by the time they came out. But Michael Jordan was an amazing athlete, leading the Chicago Bulls to six championships in the 90’s. What a dynasty!
After Jordan retired, I watched Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers pour in twenty points night after night. He played his whole career with the Lakers, like another athlete I admire, Stan Musial, who spent his entire professional baseball stint with the St. Louis Cardinals. Kobe finished his professional career by averaging 19.5 points a game, but he played the last three years with injuries and would’ve easily averaged over 20 points if he had been healthy.
One thing I noticed about Kobe was the way he played defense just as hard as he played when he had the ball.
Michael Jordan described him as a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.
Sportscaster Bob Costas said he met Kobe when he was 18. He says he was mature for his age, and a star by 21. He was always pushing for something better. He had tremendous talent and dedication and a knack for playing through pain.
Tiger Woods says he’ll remember the fire. Kobe’s desire to win. He brought it each and every night on both sides of the floor. He’d routinely take on the opposing teams best player and shut him down for 48 minutes.
I’ll always remember when he ruptured his Achilles and then went to the foul line and made his free throws. That was a sign of his mental toughness.
Kobe always seemed to rise above. Now, his unexpected loss has left his fans to do that instead.