60 points on your last day on the job is impressive, and 20 years with the same team is unheard of. But I’d think a lot differently about Kobe’s last game as a Laker if there hadn’t been so many other days in between.
Midst all the hoopla Wednesday night about it being Kobe Bryant’s last game as a Los Angeles Laker – his last game in the National Basketball Association – those who paid to watch and those paid to talk about it couldn’t say enough good about the third all-time scorer in league history.
And son of a gun…if Kobe didn’t go out with a bang. He punctuated every word said with a 60-p0int barrage to help the Laker beat the Utah Jazz. Barely.
They’ve been going on about this for the entirety of the NBA’s long, tiresome 82-game schedule…since November.
It’s Kobe farewell tour.
It’s Kobe’s last game in Cleveland (most people would ignore that as an inducement to watch).
It’s Kobe’s last time on the court with Dirk (Nowitzke).
It’s Kobe’s last time fpr any one of the myriad of things that come with being a sports, and cultural, icon.
Including, I guess, rudely ignoring fans who courteously ask him for an autograph, as I observed him do once in a hotel lobby in Boston. There was no official mention on Wednesday about that…if, and where, you could next hear Kobe tell some admiring kid to “get lost”.
Apparently, we as Americans like our legacies with a little tarnish on them, because how else can you explain the love, appreciation, respect, and absent-mindedness shown Bryant during the now-concluded six month Kobe-palooza? I’ve thought about this from a personal perspective, and say what you want about me or my generation…I’d have a lot more respect for the man and his records had it not been for a few issues along the way.
* There were the domestic issues with his wife a few years back. No need to go into them now. Do Google search if it matters to you…or not.
* There were the issues of Kobe and Shaq, of which was the bigger star, of who deserved more adulation, that probably cost the Lakers a couple of additional titles when the two played together. Apparently they’ve patched things up over the years, but why does it matter now?
* There were the constant issues of management checking with Kobe over player personnel moves, apparently to see if so-and-so was good enough, cool enough, or stud enough (Meta World Peace, or, er, Ron Artest) to dress in the same locker room.
* Or more, there were the issues of checking with Kobe before hiring a coach, just because Mike D’Antoni’s style of play might get in the way of Kobe’s touches or shots.
Seriously, is any man, or athlete that important?
Seriously, could you keep your job if you went to work every day with that attitude?
And seriously, when was the last time you saw a hall of fame dedicated to heads too big for the average body? Ok, forget that one. Every hall of fame is full of heads like that.
But answer me this. If you were teaching your kid to 1) how to treat people, 2) how not to be petulant, 3) how to be good employee, and 4) how to be modest in the face of a compliment…would you use Kobe Bryant as the example?
If you’re answer is YES to any of the above I guess you DO like your legacies with a little bit of tarnish.
And homage to the old adage: Nobody’s perfect.
Nor, does it even seem to matter!