Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon. (Matthew 16:18)
This is one post I didn't think I would write so soon, but such is life.....
As a proud Los Angeles Lakers fan, I had the pleasure of attending many parades following another NBA championship. I enjoyed the civil pride of watching the Purple and Gold beat another quality opponent on their way to another title. The names are numerous and has the stuff of legends; West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Worthy, Scott, Cooper, Rambis, Green, Riley, Shaq, Horry, Fisher and Kobe.
It is with a sad heart I must say that today was the end of life's chapter for one Kobe Bean Bryant. Five times he emerged as a champion wearing the Purple-and-Gold which fans such as this author, were proud to see him win in. His last championship was against the hated Celtics, who put up a good fight towards the end. No matter what the circumstances were, no matter how much controversy was headed his way, no matter how much the national media disrespected him by dismissing Kobe as a wanna-be Michael Jordan and casting his legacy aside when it comes to the newer superstars of this 21st Century era, there was no doubt Kobe Bryant punched back in a metaphorical sense.
Rest assured, while at one time the national sports media were looking at Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, then casting their gaze at future 'heirs' to Jordan's legacy, Lakers Nation knew Kobe Bryant was OUR guy, and with him and Shaquille O'Neal more titles were left to be had. For twenty years, he bled Purple-and-Gold. There were times he made us cheer, in the down years he made us shake our heads with poorly chosen shots, but he always gave fans a reason to stay with the Lakers because eventually we knew when the team started to win championships again, he would be at the forefront. He was the Black Mamba. He was OUR guy. He was a winner. The national sports media could never if ever, understood this. They were too focused on the Air going out in Chicago only to be prepared to crown a new King emerging out of Cleveland. Kobe didn't care about all that chatter. He only wanted to win. Leave all that other talk somewhere else.
This is truly a sad day for us all. You could say we lost an icon and as with all icons, an exhaustive list of accomplishments and endeavors will be discussed, reviewed and replayed for our memories. We'll also witness Kobe's great feats on the court which are too many to name. What we'll also witness in the coming days is the impact he had on his family (Much love to his daughter GiGi who also lost her life today) and the world in general. Many of his former detractors will have nothing but glowing praise for him as there's nothing negative you can say at this point. It is discouraging to speak ill of the dead, and past criticisms should have no place on the day we lost a legend.
Lakers fans will remember Kobe for his competitive spirit, his candor, his fire and passion for the game of basketball. We'll remember the many parades, the dunks, the many plays that established his legendary status. Other fans will remember his post-retirement status as an entrepreneur and Oscar winner. Regardless how you see him, I propose we all think of him as what he left this world as: a winner.
Rest in Peace Kobe Bean Bryant. You were well loved by Lakers Nation. You were well loved by us all.