It is rare that a player actually lives up and fulfill his potential. And it is almost unheard of when a player takes his game to another stratosphere and exceed expectations. But when the Los Angeles Lakers made the bold move and acquired a prom to pro high school phenom named Kobe Bryant, that is exactly what happened. We witnessed the Philly native in his greatest moment and we also saw Bryant reemerge and win more NBA Championships after overcoming his lowest moments.
What makes Bryant so special, is that unlike his idol Michael Jordan, his faults and flaws were no secret. Bryant’s competitiveness was Jordanesque, like his idol no one was immune from his wrath, not Shaquille O’Neal or Coach Phil Jackson. His work ethic was legendary and Bryant’s expectation each year was to add another Larry O’Brien to his impressive trophy case.
Bryant may not win a sixth ring in his final year, but his will to defy father time and thrive in spite of an ailing body is nothing short of amazing. For years Bryant lived in the shadows of His Airness but he now stands alone because there certainly will never be another Kobe Bryant, slam dunk giant.
When we think of Bryant’s greatest moments several come to mind – his monstrous series sealing alley-oop to O’Neal; his NBA All-Star debut going against his idol; and who can forget his 81 point game which will go down in history as one of the greatest offensive displays in the modern era. While stars of today are consumed with their image, Bryant was driven by winning and nothing else mattered.
After Jordan retired many wondered who would follow His Airness and we were blessed with a kid from Lower Marion who became the Black Mamba. And when Bryant laces up his shoes for the last and final time, the same question will re-emerge, who’s next? Stay tuned… I know I will.
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Subscribe to podcast