Kobe Bryant died in the sky, where he used to forge other people's dreams. If his existence was inaugurated among his father's baskets, he died on the way to training his eldest daughter, star project, fatally also died as the other occupants of the helicopter. That “tap, tap, tap” of the boat that has enchanted him since he was a baby, basketball in the beginning and in the end, the cursed circle, from Joe to Gianna Bryant, the type that perhaps loved him more deeply than anyone, recognized obsession.
I woke up in the NBA like a cyclone, under suspicion for his daring, with a hunger (and an ego) so excessive that it cost him the antipata of so many and the veterans' suspicion. He left her with the hunger intact, although now turned into pure praise, earned respect, 'the sixth ring'. Kobe drove the post generation Jordan, a dangerous traffic for the League, connecting it with the LeBron phenomenon, three intertwined dolos. “Without hoops he would not have understood human nature, nor would he have known how to lead. Basketball took me everywhere. Now it is I who takes the game everywhere,” closed his book “Mamba Mentality.” That be his legacy, even absent now.
His infinite career was under the permanent magnifying glass for two decades. Eight moments, as his first number on his back, to try to synthesize the legend, that they will never do justice to a path as immense as it is unique.
That boy with a strange name, different, had to become strong in a foreign country where football was commanding. Predestined, following the wanderings in Italy of his father's banishment, Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant, who could not succeed in the NBA. The first of the affronts to settle. The story tells that one day, during a game, he hurt his knee and his only and desperate concern was that it prevented him from being a star in the NBA. I was 12 years old.
Soon he returned to Philadelphia. You are already entertaining watching videos, hero manual, “working tirelessly adding elements” to your game. In Ardmore, in high school Lower merion, the myth was forged with his initial number on his back, 33, headline since his freshman year, although he lost 20 of the 24 games played. In the next three seasons he won 77 of 90. It was in junior when the outbreak came (averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists), just as Kevin Garnett ventured for the first time to make the leap to the NBA without going through the University. Something lights up in Kobe's head, who will imitate him a year later.
Then nobody so young had played in the NBA … With 18 years and several injuries that hindered his beginnings, Kobe, brutal scorer, debuted on November 3 at the Lakers – he was chosen by Charlotte and pierced by Vlade Divac– with zero points on your service sheet. Only in three games of that season super 20, way of thorns for the rookie rookie. But he didn't hesitate to demand Del Harris more plays for him. “The first time I reached the basket, they beat me. The defense thought I had control. The next play I came back and caused a lack of attack just to send them a message.” On December 17 of that 1996, he was measured for the first time face to face with Jordan, to the command of the Bulls champions: 30 Air points, five the rookie.
In the mates contest I demanded focus and won it. “When you make a mate, you make the adversary know your mentality. You let him know that you are there to humiliate him,” he said. In its second season, another early milestone: the youngest headline in the history of the All Star.
3.- Phil Jackson and the first ring
“Phil thought I was impossible, he thinks he questioned his authority and his plans. I thought he didn't listen.” There were also swings with the Zen Master, how not, but everything changed with his union and with that first volcanic ring, clash of egos with Shaquille O'Neal. That seventh game of the Finals against the Blazers, that eternal 'alley oop' that inaugurated a dynasty that ended in 2005 in the final lost against the Pistons, a 'three peat' later. “In an effort to avoid the complacency of our partners, Shaq and I, aware of the tension around us, we increased it.”
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Kobe had, of course, his own demons. And also murky episodes, such as the allegation of rape by a hotel worker in Eagle, Colorado, in 2003. An indelible mule, shameful even for his resolution: he finally apologized and his lawyers reached an out-of-court settlement for 25 million dollars To avoid the jail. His public image collapsed, although he saved his marriage to Vanessa, together since he was 20 years old. Some time later, I left one of those phrases that make someone different from him. “I think we both agreed; Now I understand that she didn't want that to happen And he doesn't see it like me. After months of listening to his lawyer and his testimony, I understand how it has affected him, “he said.
5.- 81 points
It was only a game, but if you have to define the genius, there is that night before the Raptors, with Jos Manuel Caldern as a suffering opponent. All the breadth of his repertoire, carved based on self-torture, extreme training, early risers, the obcecation for detail (those 400 shots in each training, among many routines), on that January 22, 2006 in Toronto Only the iconic 100 points of Wilt Chamberlain above that unforgettable deed. Like so many things, it was a “dream I had as a child”.
6.- Olympic golds
The Olympic redemption of the USA Team arrived with Kobe as captain, as an extension of everything instilled by Mike Krzyzewski. “Everything he did was aimed at increasing our admiration and love for the US. You could feel it in the way it made us play, in the intensity it showed.” The 2006 World Cup had been lost due to injury, but the affront felt her own. In the first final against Spain, erratic at the beginning, it was fundamental with two consecutive triples when the team threatened with surprise. Also unforgettable in London, the honors with whom he was already his “brother” Pau Gasol after another final to remember.
7.- The rings with Pau
With Pau there was more than complicity, “a deep connection”. A mutual admiration beyond the gestures to the galley. Because they won, because they were a reciprocal blessing. They spoke Spanish with each other regularly. Personal and sports connection in a journey with two rings, but also with the two MVPs of the finals for the first time for Kobe. “Among all the companions, without a doubt, Pau has been my favorite.”
8.- Injuries, the final ordeal
Kobe, always on the edge of the impossible, survived the physical mishaps for years. Gary Vitti and Judy Seto They were his guardian angels in the Lakers. In the second game of the End of 2000 the ankle was injured, although he managed to return in time for the ring. In 2009, a break in the index finger of his right hand made him change forever his way of throwing a basket. He adapted with 1,000 shots per day and the middle finger taking center stage in the mechanics.
But the worst, the point of no return, was the Achilles break, in April 2013. I was 35 years old. It took seven months to return, although briefly. At six matches the tibial platea external of the left knee was broken. And finally, in 2015, he had to be operated on his shoulder. An ordeal that wanted to sweeten his farewell season, a well-deserved and prolonged tribute on each NBA court until the end of his professional days (60 points). Up to that point and end, his extreme demand, with the rest of his companions and himself. The permanent sweat on his depopulated front: because the heroes are not immortal, but the legends are forever.
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