Kobe Bryant is a 5-time NBA Champion, 15-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA scoring champion, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, and has played 17 seasons in the National Basketball Association. Despite all of the accolades and awards that Bryant has received throughout his career, he continues to play with the same fire that would lead one to believe that he is far from finished. The fact remains that Kobe has played SEVENTEEN NBA SEASONS. Considering the sobering fact that the average NBA career life span is only 3-5 years, he has played more basketball than most people would probably ever care to. He’ll soon be 35 years of age by the end of this summer, and as of this past season, he played some of the best basketball of his career, until a season-ending and devastating achilles injury caused him to miss the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
One would read this and take into account the current trending sports news stories that rightfully focuses most of their attention on the back-to-back championships won by the Miami Heat, and its leading megastar, LeBron James, and think: “Why are we even mentioning Kobe right now, of all times?” I would argue that right now would be the ideal time to shed some light on the man who is also known as the “Black Mamba”. Why, you ask? The reason I wanted to shed light on Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant at this time is because like LeBron James, Kobe is a two-time NBA Finals MVP as well. However, as the years progress, we’re starting to witness a sense of amnesia among fans who at one time showered Kobe with adulation. Could it be that we’re just in a new NBA era, which is LeBron’s to lose? Perhaps. Another way to look at it is that many fans have waited for years for Kobe’s status as NBA alpha male to be relinquished to someone else, even if people in Cleveland are still furious with LeBron for leaving them.
Kobe Bryant is such a polarizing figure among NBA fans, that it’s hard not to tune in to watch him play. As the oft-used saying goes as it pertains to Kobe, “You either love him or hate him”. Perhaps it was his upbringing that suggests that he wasn’t raised in the “hood”, or perhaps it’s the striking resemblance in playing style to Michael Jordan. Whatever the case may be, it strengthens his already large fan base, or it increases the feeling of disgust that is shared among many NBA fans when it comes to Kobe. Either way, you have to give respect where it’s due, because Kobe has been working for 17 seasons to build a legacy that has propelled him into the upper echelon of NBA notables.
Kobe has stated that he has all intentions on returning to the hardwood for the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season. Will he be able to provide the same high level of basketball productivity that we’ve grown accustomed to watching? Or will we see an old and washed up Kobe Bryant, whose efforts on the court will become barely recognizable?
Only time will tell. Let’s just not forget that he isn’t quite finished yet.