Kobe Bean Bryant is calling it quits. I won’t list all of his career accolades or tell you how many points he scored while hopping off that plane from Colorado. I’ll just say “Thank You.” Thanks for all of the amazing plays, the line drive dagger threes, the countless fadeaway jumpers that reminded so many of MJ, that dunk over *insert player*, the game winners that you did and didn’t make, the ugly adidas shoes – except for the Crazy 8s – that you wore early in your career, that time Chris Childs gave you that 2 piece and a biscuit, that time you locked LeBron up in the All-Star Game, and so many other things that if I thought long enough I’d remember things I didn’t know I remembered.
My “thank you” tribute to Kobe is funny because I never considered him my favorite player. Early in his career I had the audacity to state that “Grant Hill was better” and stubbornly held on to that until the shiny part of Grant’s career was ended by multiple injuries. There were other players that I liked but stating that they were better than Kobe never parted my lips. LeBron James came along and became my favorite but Kobe was always there lingering to take his moment. We were robbed of the Kobe-LeBron NBA Finals that so many wanted. (Thanks Orlando Magic! And thanks to Nike for all of the great puppet commercials.)
I’m glad I was able to watch Kobe play numerous times on TV and a few times in person. Fans were always on edge when he had the basketball. I left in awe each time I saw him play in person. He made the game look easy whether he was sauntering across the court or furiously knocking down a tough jump shot with a defender draped all over him. With his NBA career now coming to an end, I hope you as a basketball fan appreciated what he brought to the court. Thank You Kobe, it’s been a great time.