After a 20 year fabulous, exciting, great, super, explosive, beautiful… sorry, there’s not a word to describe Kobe Bryant’s career, as he has quietly gone into the sunset.
Well…not quietly. He exploded for 60 points in his final game just to leave the young guns in the NBA and fans something more to remember him by. Letting the young guns know what they missed and the old heads know what they have had the luxury to enjoy for the past 20 years.
From a young 18 year old coming into the league fresh out of high school trying to fit into a team which already had its share of stars and fresh after the Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era which had spoiled the Lakers fans, it was championships or bust for one of the two most successful franchises in major league sports.
Kobe following the lead of his father, Joe Bryant, who had played in the NBA for several years took a little time but adjusted not only to playing in the league but being a star in the league to becoming The Star in the league, which led to friction between he and Shaquille O’Neal, who was the star before Kobe. But with age and maturity Shaq was able to accept going from being the number one option to the second option behind Kobe for three titles. But finally Shaq left the Lakers for the Miami Heat where he won another title to go with the three he won with Kobe.
Magic Johnson led the Lakers to nine NBA finals winning five championships before Kobe so he was determined to match the championships which he did winning five in eight trips to the finals. His last two titles were won without Shaq.