Some of the Mamba Day stuff I created. http://web.nike.com/kobemamba/index.html
My story on Kobe
I was a 90s kid, but with no real basketball allegiances. My parents were not big fans of basketball. So I didn't have a team handed down to me like I did for baseball and football, although that was decided by my grandparents. My brother picked the Magic because of Shaq & Penny. But I liked players, and teams of players... I didn't really care for the Knicks... The Hornets with Zo, LJ & Muggsy were a favorite, but there was so much amazement at Jordan, that I like so many others saw him as my favorite player. At 6 years old, I happen to be watching the NBA Draft, and saw the highlights of a kid from high school who jumped in front of a pass and took it all the way back with a dunk. And he was drafted by the Hornets, who still had LJ & Muggsy. GREAT! Jordan was still my guy, but I made it a point that I had to get his rookie card. I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAVE IT. Thought it was cool that this guy came right out of high school to play, I wasn't huge into basketball, so I wasn't totally aware of KG, etc.
Then Kobe gets traded to the Lakers, kind of hurt, but he was teaming with Shaq which was cool to me. I've always lived in NY, so I didn't get to watch too much of Kobe in his early years, how could I? Most of the games were at 10:30pm. I remember seeing the highlights on Sportscenter which was on 24/7. But I do remember vividly watching the 96 dunk contest, and the 98 All Star Game, and the game he had going one-on-one against Jordan Sunday NBA on NBC. They kept calling him the next Jordan. And he became the guy that started rivaling Jordan for my fandom. Then BOOM... Jordan retires, and the Bulls drive away Pippen, Rodman & Phil all in the same season. I was absolutely crushed. I was 8 years old at the time, didn't fully understand all the behind the scenes stuff going on in Chicago, but I had an intense hatred for that team with how the dynasty was broken up. I was searching for a team, and there he was... Kobe Bryant brought me to the Lakers.
For the next number of years, I only got to watch the games on National TV on the weekends, Highlight videos on Sportscenter, and the playoffs. I watched the 2000 game against the Blazers bummed out that they were getting killed, and it was the end of the season. Then the flip just switched and they kept coming back. That alley to Shaq was one of my favorite moments.
Through 2010 I only really got to watch when they were on National Television, playing Knicks/Nets or in the playoffs. I really missed a lot of Kobe's career because of that. And it always bothers me because this guy ended up being my favorite player, and I really did not get to see it all due to being on the other side of the country. Same regret I have about Ken Griffey Jr., who always killed my Yankees. But god damnit if Ken Griffey Jr. was not the coolest guy alive. I remember Game 7 of the NBA finals in 2010, I was live tweeting on facebook
Was extremely frustrated at that game. Such an ugly game, gritty, but ugly. Starting in the 3rd quarter, I stood right in front of my bed watching, refusing to sit down because I didn't want to jinx us. Then Kobe draws a double team, passes it to Ron, and BOOM.. I kid you not, I was jumping up and down in a 360. I probably looked like an idiot, but I had never been so hyped. I was so happy that we got it done against those BUMS in Boston. Mind you, I'm from New York, and a Yankees fan, so my hatred of Boston runs deep, they could give that city away to a foreign country for all I care. I visited it once as a kid, refuse to ever step foot in that hell hole as an adult.
The next day, I am walking around in my Home Kobe Vs, Black & Purple Adidas pants, and the Kobe Puppet Ring Fingers shirt on Cloud 9. Couldn't tell me a god damn thing about my life that day. Went straight to the park, and played ball all day.
Then in 2011, Kobe's body looked like it was going. The wrist that had his hand looking like Super Mario, the knee, the finger in the past, and I could see the end coming. I made a vow that I would watch every single game that I could because I didn't want to miss what I missed in Kobe's prime. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. I've probably watched 90% of the Lakers games just to see Kobe play. Including preseason games. Games at 10:30pm, don't get over until 1:15am. I'm up watching no matter if I had class, work, student teaching early in the morning, it didn't matter. I was going to watch. This man was my idol, and I wanted to say I watched all of those games.
I know what Kobe means to me, and there isn't many, outside of family that have had a tremendous impact on the person I am. Nor have I gotten so much joy out of watching any other basketball player play the game. Kobe has been a stabilization force for me through many hard times.
I know it's time for him to go. But it does hurt that it is time. I will truly miss Kobe BryantEdited by Essential1 - 4/13/16 at 1:44am