Kobe Bryant: Basketball Legend
The 2015-2016 basketball season will be remembered as the one that last saw Kobe Bryant tearing opposing teams apart on the court. The thirty seven year old basketball legend announced that his twentieth season in the NBA this year would be his last before he retires. This comes as a great surprise to many basketball fans across the nation. Even though Kobe Bryant’s legacy is at its strongest on the west coast where his team plays, his dominance in basketball is admired as far away as on the east coast by fans like myself and others. The news of his retirement leads me along to speculate about the future of basketball without him on the court. Predicting the future is an easier task once one has analyzed the past, and before too much consideration is given to the future of basketball without Kobe Bryant, I want to share some of my views about Kobe Bryant’s career in the NBA.
I view Kobe Bryant as the superstar that bridged two eras of basketball history. When he began his career at age eighteen, Kobe Bryant came into an NBA that was centered on the legendary Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant has said that Michael Jordan mentored him when he came into the NBA, and he has also said that he wants to be like Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant only faced each other on the basketball court for a short period of time before Michael Jordan retired from basketball. Since that point, the NBA has been Kobe Bryant’s league, and he has lived up to his statement of wanting to be like Michael Jordan. In fact, Kobe Bryant has surpassed his mentor in some aspects of basketball. Kobe Bryant has scored more points in his career than Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant’s 81 points in a single match also surpasses Michael Jordan’s high of 69 points in a match. Kobe Bryant once came into the NBA with aspirations of becoming like the great basketball players that he competed against, and now young superstars come into the league with hopes of one day playing as well as Kobe Bryant. I view Kobe Bryant as the bridge between two eras because he acquired knowledge of basketball from the Michael Jordan era and like a bridge, he transported it through his playing style to the modern era, where that knowledge is still alive in those young players who continue to emulate his playing style.
What I admire most about Kobe Bryant is that not only has he established an acclaimed career for himself, but he has also helped his Los Angeles Lakers team reach the NBA finals seven times. There is no I in team nor is there one in Kobe Bryant. He used his brilliant and athletic playing style to benefit his team, and his team has been one of the most successful teams in NBA history while he has played for them. He has won the NBA finals five times out of seven opportunities and has been the NBA most valuable player once in his career. He offers coaching advice to younger players on the team and even advises the coaches of the Los Angeles Lakers from time to time. He also makes sacrifices to help his team win games. In a recent statement, Kobe Bryant had said that although this season will be his last, he wants younger players to get more playing time than him because they will give the team a better chance to win in. Kobe Bryant should not only be remembered for being an NBA MVP, but he should also be remembered for being a team player who has helped his team win five NBA championships.