BY MOSES KAMUIRU
Kobe Bryant’s Long Goodbye closed after $48 million and was two years in the making. Being the most dedicated soloist in the history of the NBA, the fact that Kobe took on the Utah Jazz on ESPN2 as the Golden State Warriors Sought to achieve the regular season record in league annuals on ESPN is poetic justice. At $425 million per season, Kobe was the highest paid player in the league and also had the worst goal shooting percentage at .354. No one the NBA has chucked more unashamedly and errantly than Bryant. He had an average of more 16.4 attempts per game which was more than any of his teammates. However, ESPN’s nonstop hagiography of Bryant continues as the Lakers crawl to the finish line with what will be their worst record of 16-65 in franchise history.
Kobe Bryant leaves the game with a legacy of never passing up a shot he wanted to take. Since Staples Center courtside regular Jack Nicholson appeared in The Departed, we have not witnessed a fading star chew this much scenery accompanied by this much delusional approbation. This is exactly what Bryant should have done after tearing his Achilles tendon three years ago. The man, popularly known as “Black Mamba” has been a .363 shooter which has felt the residual effects of the devastating injury that cost Kobe Bryant 123 games in the last two years. That is a mark that would be the league’s worst in any single season this millennium. However, more than anyone in the NBA, Kobe has continued to earn a hefty salary at approximately $79 million in the last three years despite the fact that the Lakers have not appeared in any playoff games.
The Lakers legion, too many of whom prefer to worship Kobe, have chosen to watch a terrible team rather than to move on with their lives, and their team. The Lakers have never finished worse than 11th in the NBA in each of the past three seasons, despite having not made the playoffs. The only other franchise that can make that “boast” is the New York Knicks, and, well, need I say more?
Among the Best of All time
Kobe’s virtuosity over the course of his 20-season career puts him in the NBA’s top 10 of all time. Only seven other players have won regular-season, Finals, and All-Star Game MVP awards. Only Wilt Chamberlain had more 60-point games (32), and only Michael Jordan had as many as Kobe’s five. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone scored more points in a career, and each of them had the benefit of playing with one of the two greatest assist men in league history (Magic Johnson and John Stockton, respectively). Kobe never played with a true point guard—he played both that position and shooting guard, simultaneously.
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Photo Credits: the conscience cloud