Lynsi’s Line Up: Love Him or Hate Him, ‘Mamba’ is a Legend

Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant is officially a retired shooting guard. The legend we all know is done playing professional basketball. Come to think of it, Bryant, in the NBA, was something we were all used to. I mean, he played for twenty years; as long as I’ve been alive.

Bryant was born to play basketball, and everyone knew it during his rookie season when he won the Slam Dunk Contest while participating in the Rookie Challenge. By his second season, he became the youngest All-Star starter in NBA history.

Bryant, along with the help of Shaquille O’Neal, led the Lakers to three back-to-back NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. In the 2005 and 2006 seasons, he led the league in scoring and did it again in 2006 and 2007. He was named the Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010 after winning back-to-back championships for the second time. I would say five championships in ten years is pretty impressive.

During his career, Bryant shot one eighty-point game, six sixty-point games, 26 fifty-point games, and 134 forty-point games. One of those sixty-point games was also his final game wearing the Lakers uniform. I made sure I was off work to watch. It was too important to miss.

The pre-game introduction showed how much of an impact Bryant had on players, fans, and Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant’s last game as a Laker was a success. Although, in my opinion, Utah intentionally did not play their best, but I am glad Bryant’s last game ended with a win.

I used to “hate” Bryant because he made it all look so easy. Once I got more into basketball, I reluctantly grew into a fan, even though I wouldn’t openly admit it. He had heart and passion for the game, but he also had confidence in himself. I know plenty of people who dislike Bryant, but as they watched his last game, they gave him credit because it was due.

What will the NBA be without Kobe? We will not know until next season. I do know, though, it will not be the same watching a Lakers’ game. Some say it was too soon for him to leave the league, but I think it was great timing. He is not too old and not too young. He accomplished so much in his twenty years in the NBA, and he endured things that tested his career but he got through them. Now it is his time to relax and enjoy himself and his family. Like he said April 13, “Mamba out.”