• Kory Walrdon

Mamba Out

*Photo via Palm Beach Post

Relentless, unstoppable, arrogant, champion, legend; these few words are on a list of many more in which describe the now retired Kobe Bryant. Wednesday night in Los Angeles, in front of 18,997 fans, with appearances from many Laker legends including Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal; all were in attendance at Staples Center to watch the Black Mamba lace them up one last time. Kobe did not disappoint, as he came out in vintage form and exploded for 60 points for a Lakers win, his last win.

Afterwards, Kobe stepped center court and addressed all the fans one final time, thanking them for all that they meant to him until finally calling “Mamba out.” 33,643 points scored, 7,047 rebounds, 6,306 assists, one Most Valuable Player award and FIVE rings to go along with that. The incredible 81 point game against Toronto, the numerous 40 point games and higher. The list of accolades goes on for the 20 year career of Kobe Bryant.

My love for basketball was influenced and truly shaped by watching Kobe Bryant night in and out, watching him score points in bunches while he dominated the competition. A generic line from my generation “We didn’t get to see Jordan play, we got to see Kobe.” Kobe was our Jordan in every aspect, the way he shot, the way he competed, the killer instinct. His relentless drive to be the best, how he didn’t shy away from a challenge but embraced it. Kobe was an inspiration to millions across the globe for his work ethic and dedication to the game. He touched the lives of many.

Where he ranks specifically now among the other all-time greats that’s for you to decide, but he has cemented himself in the history books. The game of basketball has forever been impacted by having Kobe Bryant for two decades.

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