Throughout my life Kobe has always been the enemy. I’ve never liked him, but always respected his grace on the basketball court. He’s always been an adversary, a roadblock to my happiness in sports. His narcissistic tendencies irked me while at the same time I’ve loved his relentless determination to dominate the game of Basketball. His indifference to his teammates whether it be Shaq or Smush Parker has irritated me but his scoring prowess has fascinated me. Everything he’s done in his life he’s done with the intent to dominate, to leave his mark and make sure that we remember him.
You guys know that as a Celtics fan Kobe is basically public enemy #1, a role he relishes. Being the face of the franchise rival is one the comes with tremendous responsibilities. Encapsulated in said responsibilities is to raise your game against Boston something he has done on countless occasions, leaving a plethora of tired Celtic defenders in his wake. The picture above was taken just after Game 6 in the 2008 Finals. What turned out to be the happiest moment I have ever experienced as a Celtics fan was most likely one of the lowest moments of his life as a Laker. It seems to represent the way I view Kobe. When I experience joy in Basketball, Kobe is more than likely experiencing sorrow and vice versa.
Kobe eventually got his revenge unleashing his fury in 09 and 10 finals winning back to back titles. The latter of which still haunts me to this day. Since then he’s been testing the limits of his own physical fortitude by defying father time and astounding us with his brilliant play(albeit with the help of a trip to Germany). He’s had some bumps and bruises but never a huge injury that has sidelined him for a chunk of time. He’s played through torn ligaments in his fingers, sprained ankles etc. but never have we seen him go down like he did against Golden State. Until then I viewed Kobe as an immortal, someone’s whose body would never break but deep down I kind of knew this would happen. I knew that after 17 years of playing through injuries his career would end with him succumbing to one ultimately to big to play through. When I watched him go down I felt the collective “gasp” of the basketball world, and the sorrow of Lakers fans who had just witnessed their champion crumble for the first time.
I’ve heard people throw out the “A” word(Amnesty) since Kobe tore his achilles but to me, even as a Celtics fans who has been rooting for his failure since I’ve been able to walk, it just seems like a slap in the face. It’s a shame that Amnestying the Mamba is even an option. Tom Ziller of SBNation already wrote why such a thought should be put to bed.
His career being an almost perfect shadow of one particular Chicago Bulls Guard, Kobe has already cemented his legacy. The former 16th overall pick is already going to the Hall of Fame. He’s already one of the 10 greatest players to ever play the game. He’s already made his mark, so what’s the need for him to come back? Because he’s Kobe and Kobe isn’t going out like this. He can’t go out like this. In my 15 years of life I’ve never seen anyone play the game with as much fire as he’s played the game and I’ve watched KG for almost half my life. I can’t have Kobe retire for I don’t know what the NBA is like without him. I don’t know what a Celtics-Lakers rivalry means without him. Without him everything seems to lose it’s sizzle. You know they say “A hero is only as good as his villain,” Kobe’s our villain and I’m rooting for him. For the first time in my life I find myself rooting for Kobe.