DEVEN DEL PRIORE
Whether you are familiar with the National Basketball Association (NBA) or not, you probably know who Kobe Bryant is. Also known as “The Black Mamba,” Bryant has been dominating the league for the past 20 years.
In my eyes, Kobe Bryant on the Lakers is like Derek Jeter on the Yankees. They just go hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other. But, all good things come to an end eventually. After being drafted 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers, he has been nothing but a shining star. Sadly, after this season, Kobe Bryant is officially retiring. In honor of my favorite basketball player of my era, I will take you back in history to some of Bryant’s most outstanding accolades and statistics.
It is safe to say that Bryant has had a Hall of Fame career. Bryant is a five time NBA Champion in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010, as well as the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 and 2010 finals. One MVP award for the whole league in 2008, along with being selected for the NBA All-Star Team 18 times, complimenting those games with four All Star Game MVP’s. He is most famous for his scoring, but only two NBA Scoring Champion awards do him no justice for the great scorer he actually was. He even showed off his dunk skills by winning the Slam Dunk Contest in 1997! If you think Bryant does not play defense, you may want to think twice. Bryant made NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times. Bryant even did his duties for his counties by winning two Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. Throughout his entire career, Bryant started in 1132 of 1280 games for the Lakers and averaged 25.4 points per game.
Myself, along with millions of other people are going to truly miss Kobe Bryant. Not only because of the great basketball player he was, but because he is an icon of how the game is supposed to be played. His attitude and work ethic toward the game is something that doesn’t come around often. Kevin Durant, an All-Star for the Oklahoma City Thunder, told a story on SportsCenter about his time with Kobe in the 2012 Olympics. Durant said they had an off day, and most of the guys went down to the pool and other leisure activities. But, he saw Bryant walking in the opposite direction as everyone so he asked where he was going. Bryant said he was going to the gym to get his shots in for the day. Durant went on to say that Bryant took fifty shots from eight spots behind the three point line, and he couldn’t leave until he finished all fifty from every spot. That is the type of person Kobe Bryant is, and that’s why he is going to go down as one of the greats.