It’s been a year.
This past year gave us the opportunity to reflect on the legacy, the impact that Kobe had not only in basketball, but as a culture icon and a reference model for thousands of people around the world.
Kobe, like all the greats, has managed to leave a deep mark in people’s hearts thanks to his dedication, for being always in constant challenge with himself, for being obsessed with the pursuit of perfection in his art, for his hunger of success and victories.
As in the best Hollywood’s scripts The Lakers ended the season as NBA Champions.
During the season they reminded everyone of Bryant and Gianna and ended up winning the title on National Father-Daughter Day. They wore the “Black Mamba” uniforms. They broke huddles with a “1-2-3, Mamba!” chant. They wore his shoes.
To celebrate his Legacy we prefer to remember him through those moments that made us fall in love, that amazed us, that kept us awake and that made us angry but also smile.
1997 Western Conference semifinals Game 5 vs the Utah Jazz.
With the game on the line, the 18-year-old Kobe tried to hit a game winner before overtime but comes short, then he tried other three times with the same result.
Four Air Balls at the end of the game and the win for the Jazz.
That would have broke any player but not him. The next morning he was in the gym working on his shot.
Mamba mentality at its best.
New York All-Star Game, 1998. Surprisingly the 19 years old Kobe is selected as the starting guard for the Western all star team.
Finally Kobe is face-to-face with his idol Michael Jordan and when he is ready to challenged him 1on1,Karl Malone -a future hall of famer- shows up to play a pick’n’roll and get told: “Get out of my way!”.
2000 NBA Finals game 4 vs Indiana Pacers.
Shaquille O’Neal picked up his final foul with 2:23 remaining in Overtime.
With the most dominant player in NBA out of the game, Kobe carried the Lakers on his shoulders.
Despite an ankle sprain he led his team to victory with a jumper against Reggie Miller and a tap-in on offensive rebound.
Not bad for a 21-years-old guy.
Atlanta All Star Game, 2003.
The last All Star Game of Michael Jordan’s career.
Everyone was there to celebrate the G.O.A.T. Everyone but him, of course.
The game was tied, Jordan made the fade away shot with three seconds left.
East up by two. Then, Kobe stepped in.
After a foul call he makes two free-throws to send the game in second overtime and later the West won the game.
(all of this while he was wearing a pair of retro Air Jordan 3 “true blue”).
Los Angeles January 22, 2006.
During a regular season game the unthinkable happened.
After a lazy start, the Lakers were down against the Toronto Raptors, not exactly a powerhouse at that time.
Kobe decided they weren’t going to lose that game.
At the final buzzer he closed the game with 81 points,the second best scoring performance behind Wilt’s 100 points.
Beijing Olympics finals, 2008
After one of his best seasons ever, which ended with the only regular season MVP in career and a lost against the Boston Celtics in the Finals, Kobe was the star of the “Redeem team” of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In the final game against the Spain (of his friend Pau Gasol) he won the game with a four points play.
2010 NBA Finals Game 5 vs Boston Celtics.
After the first two quarters the Celtics were up in the game.
From the end of the second and the start of the third Kobe stepped up, shot after shot he buried the defense which got no answer for him.
21 straight points, one of the most impressive performances in NBA Finals history.
The Lakers lost that game but won that series and the title in game 7 and let Kobe cemente his legacy.
Los Angeles April 13, 2016.
After a couple of struggled seasons and a lot of injuries Kobe decided to retire.
His last game, of course, wasn’t quiet.
He closed his career in the loudest way possible, he dropped 60 pts on the Utah Jazz (it’s Hollywood, baby) and with a legendary retirement speech.
Ah, and a couple months later he won an Oscar for the Best animated short film.
“If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will do it for you.”
Thank you Kobe.