Goodbye, 24

On a night that saw the Golden State Warriors break the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ “unbreakable” record of 73 regular-season wins, Kobe Bryant’s final performance on an NBA court would far out-shadow that moment as he scored 60 points in a 101-96 Lakers victory during his last curtain call.

The last night of the NBA’s 2016 regular season will go down as likely the most special in history and it would be the hapless, 17-win LA Lakers that would steal a large bulk of the spotlight as we all watched and paid our last respects to one of the greatest players to ever do it.

BKN-NBA-GRIZZLIES-LAKERS

Sure, Bryant is a polarizing figure among many sports fans as his career on and off the court have not been flawless. Back in 2003 he dealt with allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel worker in Eagle, Colorado. He had a very public falling out with former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal and was not always known as a particularly friendly teammate with players who were not giving their all on the court. Bryant, however, is a rare breed in today’s sports world. He was 100% committed to excellence in every possible way. The 5-time NBA Champion demanded that every single person around him do whatever it takes to win and to excel in every moment. That is the mark of a true champion and, unquestionably, the NBA and sports in general are worse off without Kobe Bryant being a part of it.

His accolades are certainly prodigious; Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, a former league MVP, a two-time NBA Finals MVP and fished 3rd all time in points scored. But we should all remember the Black Mamba for his consummate will to win and unprecedented determination. Sure, as his body began to break down in his final years, so did the very franchise that he helped lead to reverence, but he was able to stand pact as unquestioned leader of that organization until his final shot. So with that, we should all figuratively stand and applaud one last time as Kobe Bryant, the greatest Laker, becomes merely a part of NBA lore.

Avatar of Clint Switzer
Full-time sports fan, part-time contributor to society. GASN Sports co-founder, podcast host, filmmaker and writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *