We watched you in high school as you made your decision to enter the NBA draft right out of high school. You had this cocky side to you then. It was cool though. We marveled as you took the R&B princess at the time, Brandy, to your high school prom. Looking back at all these signs, it was evident that you were going to be a Laker. Only Hollywood ties could pull off such a feat.
When you entered the NBA, you weren’t taken in the top 5, but made the teams that picked over you wish they hadn’t. Your first points in the NBA was a dunk after you stole the ball. What a way to make an entrance. You won the dunk contest that year making you the youngest to ever win it. Your career was off to a great start. Your career was better than any player that was drafted from 1996 until today. That’s a proven fact. No one has more to show for 20 years than you.
You helped put the SHOWTIME back into the Lakers. The title was returned to the west 5 times in the 20 years that you played. There was not a team out there better than you guys and you proved it night after night. You made it cool to hate the Lakers again. You were hated and feared by fans and players alike. That was the fun part. I can remember you telling Lisa Saunders this after a game 1 loss to the Pistons in the finals. ” Make no mistake about it, if I want to put the ball in the hole, there is no one thats going to stop me. Im getting my teammates involved.” That was the comment that made the world hate you more. Not because you sounded arrogant, but because you proved it to be true.
You made mistakes along the way. Hey we all do in this thing call life. You picked up the pieces, apologized, and became a greater man. You changed your number from 8 to 24. Why? My thoughts, 24 is 3 times greater than 8. In 3 areas you evolved. Your marriage got better, Your game got better, and your relationship with your teammates got better. You figured out that you had to evolve to continue success. That you did..
You proved everyone wrong. They said you wouldn’t win a championship without Shaq. Shaq said that you would not win another one without him. Shaq even tried to humiliate you. You kept your composer and went to the finals 3 times in a row without Shaq and won 2 back to back without Shaq. You left the game with more championships than Shaq.
In your career you were known as the best closer in the game. Time and time again you have taken over games in the 4th and finished strong. Everyone knew who the ball was going to with 10 seconds left on the clock in the 4th. The problem was, how was you going to stop Kobe from beating you. You brought fear to the hearts of opponents that had to face you to get to the playoffs. You played hurt, you played tired. Not once did you ever let us the fans down. In a league where players are going and forming super teams, you never left home. You took what you had and you made it work. No one thought you, fisher, gasol, bynum, and odom would see 3 finals together. Let alone win 2 back to back. That is what a true champion does! He takes whats on his team, exploit their strengths, makes up the difference with his talent, and get the job done! This is whats going to make you greater than Lebron or any other player. YOU STAYED HOME AND YOU WON WITH WHAT YOU HAD..
The last of the old school players has left the building people. It was an honor for me to be able to say, I met this guy, I got this guy autograph, I’ve watched this guy from day one, I have always been and always will be a LAKER FOR LIFE, and I hate to see him go. To The Greatest Laker to ever play the game. Kobe Bryant.