Let me start this by letting me share which I think is Kobe’s greatest dunk ever.
It’s definitely one of the most exciting in-game dunks in the history of the NBA.
Let’s have a closer look…
And from another angle...
I can’t blame you if you would prefer to gape at those GIFs over and over again rather than proceed to the rest of the article. It’s understandable.
But that’s Kobe Bryant for you. Inciting awe is what he does best. And we can’t help but clap and cheer.
Doc Rivers, of all people, once said: “I just wish more people would celebrate Kobe, I really do. Of all the guys in our league, that bugs me more than anything, that it just seems like we spend so much time trying to tear him apart and I think we're missing how great he is. And I think it's a shame.”
To a Laker and Kobe Bryant fan like me, that goes without saying. I’ve always celebrated his talents, his career, his toughness, his work ethic, his victories, and even his photos. I’ve always looked up to the man. He has always been awesome in my book.
But after Kobe’s Achilles injury at the late part of the humiliating 2012-2013 season and Kobe playing just six games during the abysmal 2013-2014 season, only then did it really sink on me that Kobe’s best years has passed by already. Kobe is truly in his twilight already. The days of Kobe dominating are gone. That is the sad reality.
Can Kobe return back to an elite (and when I mean “elite,” it means up there with MVP-caliber players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant) form? The possibility is there, but it’s highly unlikely. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not doubting Kobe. If anyone can make an epic comeback from this situation, it’s Kobe. But the odds are stacked against him. I’m just being realistic. Nonetheless, I desire nothing more than Kobe proving me wrong.
But given the present conditions, it is only objective to presume that Kobe Bryant’s Golden Age is gone. There will no longer be another 81-point game. There will no longer be back-to-back scoring championships. There will no longer be All-Defensive First Team selections. And if ever Kobe Bryant manages to win more championships (which I’m still hoping for), it’s not totally because he steamrolled the opposition.
And it is at this point where we should appreciate Kobe more. He’ll be playing at least two more seasons, and any possibility of extension is dependent on how he’ll perform on those two seasons. During this short remaining time that we can still witness Kobe on the court, we should savor every moment of it. This goes not only to a LA Lakers/Kobe Bryan fan like me, but to the typical NBA fan as well. Even if you are Team LeBron, a Michael Jordan zealot, a Celtic fan, or just a good ol’ Kobe hater, if you are truly a fan of the NBA and basketball, I am pretty sure you’ll miss Kobe Bryant and what his career brought to the game after he’s gone. Seriously. So love him or hate him as much as you want, but you got to celebrate Kobe Bryant’s greatness. Respect and appreciate the Black Mamba. For he is objectively one of the most captivating, most phenomenal, and most enjoyable players that ever played the game.
I, for one, am are totally thankful that I was able to witness and enjoy the Kobe Bryant era.