All Star Weekend is coming, as is the playoffs/finals.
The tragedy, and their memory, will loom large throughout the rest of this season. Much more will be discussed in the media, in ways that differ from the immediate aftermath.
We've established that Kobe's was a life, career, and death that had a profound impact on this board. Him and AI were the lifeblood of this forum until Brawn came through and crushed the buildings (c).
His life, career, and legacy certainly has unsavory elements, and those are certainly fair to discuss in appropriate ways. But his overall legacy is immense, particularly when we look at the work he was beginning to do in the women's game.
The TMZ death post is not, imo, the best forum to discuss his life and memory going forward, and neither is the official Lakers season thread. I do not think it's inappropriate to have a separate post to begin to digest this loss now that the initial shock has resided, and his legacy begins to take center stage in the second half of this season.
So I propose we have a separate post, this post, as that memorial.
3. "Well, ok. Here goes." In response to Reply # 0
I don't really remember when I first heard the name Kobe Bryant, but it was obviously inescapable in Los Angeles in 1996.
Right now, weeks later, you're still hearing tributes on the radio, seeing RIP KOBE on every city bus, and the numbers 8, 24, and 2 everywhere you go in LA. Post Michael Jackson, I didn't think there'd be a bigger celebrity death ever. This is the one. It coming out of nowhere, in such strange circumstances, while he was still so visible in the city is just devastating.
Like most, I've spent a lot of time watching Kobe highlights. I did that a lot before all this, but I've watched things I'd forgotten about.
So, in no order, here are just some memories I have of his career that make me smile every time:
1. The first game after the Pau trade was something. I remember where I was when I read about it on here (rjc27 where you at), and knowing it'd change the team in a huge way. But there were 2 moments in the trade that I laugh at - the first was an interview where the trade was official, but Pau hadn't yet suited up. Kobe was trying SO hard to hide his elation. He was trying to hide the smile. The other was the first game Pau played and Kobe screamed, "Si, si me gusta!!!"
2. Lakers-Phoenix playoff series, 2006. Kobe was on another level that year but nobody thought they could beat the Suns. We know what happened, but in Game 4 - I was in a packed living room and we must have watched that ending 50 times. This is pre Youtube so I think all I had was the linear TV replays and then downloadable video files on LakersGround.net. The finish to that game is one of my most cherished Laker memories, despite them losing the series, oddly.
3. 2008 Olympics where Kobe took over on a team full of talent but who'd had the "Redeem Team" badge on them and the Lebrons, Melos, CP3, Deron Williams, etc were perhaps a little too green and hadn't really matured to the place they would eventually get to - and Kobe just said fuck it I'm not losing. That Spain team was really damn good, and the US obviously should have won but it was incredible to see Kobe, fresh off a brutal finals loss, take over.
5. The painful year of the first season post Shaq and Kobe trying to become a leader. It was so dreadful to watch, but I remember thinking he was trying so hard and it was hilarious.
6. All the fucking Okayplayer posts about him. The heated debates. Willie Winguy. Who amongst you, etc? I mean - what a time that was. It was so fun. It was as if he knew he had people arguing on the internet about him and he gave each side ammo to keep going. Hilarious.
7. The 81 point game and the last game were great but I thought his best game in the regular season ever was the 62 points in 3 quarters against the Mavs. Just an unreal performance.
I dunno man, I could keep going but this one still hurts bad. I went to the Lakers/Spurs game last week and it's just weird all around. It still doesnt feel real and I can't imagine what people who actually knew him feel right now.
4. "man, of all the Kobe-related things I'll remember" In response to Reply # 3
>6. All the fucking Okayplayer posts about him. The heated >debates. Willie Winguy. Who amongst you, etc? I mean - what a >time that was. It was so fun. It was as if he knew he had >people arguing on the internet about him and he gave each side >ammo to keep going. Hilarious.
This is near the top. I fuckin' loved reading the posts from frustrated Laker fans over the years. I felt that way on Kobe's last game and still feel that way today, even now if thinking about it overall makes me sad there's always a laugh thinking about theeraser or LBs Finest going in on Kobe detractors.
lowkey, y'all helped me buy that condo in Kobestan.
5. "That final game is much more special in light of his death" In response to Reply # 4
At least for me.
I said it at the time, but that game was basically a microcosm of his career, showcasing both the brilliant and frustrating elements of his game. For me, the roller coaster of that game embodied exactly what it was like to be a fan of Kobe Bryant throughout his career. The good, bad, ugly, and breathtaking.
It was an exhilarating experience, and that's what it was like being a devoted fan for twenty years: an experience.
6. "The man created book series." In response to Reply # 0
Like, who does that a few years after excelling in a professional sport?
He was a Hall of Famer after the first three peat, an all timer after the back to back, so everything following 2010 was just icing.
To make this pivot, though, in art and in business, with such clear indicators that he was going to alter the landscape, and such mature devotion to his family....made you believe in fairy tales for a minute.