I don't like Kobe Bryant. Not even a little. But I do have a begrudging respect for the man's basketball game.
That's about all I can say without dry heaves so I'll have to let a Laker fan give his tribute to Kobe (who just passed his nemesis Shaq on the all time scoring list).
I marvel at the legends he’s passed during his ongoing scoring binge and wonder how much higher on that ladder he can climb. Then, I’m almost overwhelmed by a sense of appreciation. Kobe and I are roughly the same age. I’ve been lucky enough to see his entire career unfold, watching nearly every game, and seeing how he’s grown from that young kid with the mini-afro to the the man that stands before us today. I’ve seen the ups and downs; the championships; the devastating losses. And through it all, I’ve seen him persevere - playing a game with a drive and dedication that not too many give in any apsect of their lives.
Bird had Magic but that was different. I hated Magic for years before I learned to respect and admire and eventually like a lot. In fact, with his relationship with Bird made him downright lovable to Boston fans (after retirement at least). That's never going to be the case with Kobe and I think he's fine with that. He's just a different kind of cat.
I don't wish injury or early retirement on anyone, including Kobe. But you won't find me shedding a tear for the game of basketball when he shuffles off the court for the last time. Though I might give him a tight lipped half head nod.