KB24, The Black Mamba, Bean, Vino.
Kobe Bryant has overcome just about everything in his career. He has silenced reporters, nay-sayers, and opposers time and time again, while proving himself to be one of the best ever to play the game of basketball. Kobe has overcome the odds time and tie again and risen to the top of the mountain. If there’s anyone who can come back from the series of misfortunes of the past couple of years, it’s the King of the Comeback: Kobe Bean Bryant.
With 5 games left to play last year Kobe had kept his promise to Laker Nation and had the team poised and in position to make the playoffs. Kobe was absolutely incredible down the last stretch, including two all-time performances. The first one came against the Toronto Raptors, when, after a terrible turnover night, Kobe and the Lakers found themselves down by two possessions for the majority of the last two minutes. However, we know how stubborn Kobe can be. His never-say-die attitude led him to some how, some way, with 2 defenders on him with each attempt, drain 3 three-point shots in the final minuets of play to send the game into overtime. Then, in OT, he sealed the game with a two handed dunk over 2 defenders. He ended that game with 41 points and 12 assist as the Lakers came back to take down the Toronto Raptors.
The second notable game is the one that everyone remembers. That game raised the hearts of Lakers fans. The, in one step, it was all taken away. With a win against the Warriors, the Lakers would move into position as the 8th seed in the playoffs. The Lakers found themselves trailing by double digits for a majority of the game. However, with Kobe Bryant’s promise hanging in the balance, the Lakers had an opportunity to take a huge leap forward and bring the promise to fulfillment. In this particular game there was a fight in Kobe. The struggle he had to overcome with this game kind of seemed like a culmination of the Lakers struggles and disastrous season. The Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, were lighting it up and the Lakers had no answer for their shooting that night. Stephen Curry had more than 30 points that night before the end of the third quarter. He had been a thorn in the Lakers side the entire game. Every time the Lakers made a run to shave the lead down to a slim margin, Curry’s shooting ability would show its face and the Lakers would be down big once again. However, Kobe battled back. He would literally leave it all on the floor as he fell time and time again with consecutive knee and ankle pains that floored him on numerous occasions throughout the game.
But Kobe’s perseverance is unmatched and his intensity is incomparable. His resilience was taken to the limit that night. As he made a move on Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, he dropped to the floor, but this time it took him longer than usual to get up. As he massaged the back of his ankles, Laker Nation knew what had happened and knew that this was probably an injury that would sideline Kobe Bryant for more than just a a few possessions this time around. A Kobe we have never seen limped his way to the bench as the Lakers called a time out. It was a defeated looking Kobe Bryant, a depleted Kobe Bryant, defenseless, a Kobe that didn’t look like a threat. The look on his face was one that pierced the hearts of Los Angeles Laker fans across the globe. This Kobe Bryant, was a dead Kobe Bryant.
But Kobe had free throws to shoot, and if you know The Mamba, you know he gives every thing he has even when he has nothing to give. Kobe limped his way back on the court and to the free-throw line. And Kobe, with the heart of a thousand lions, knocked down two free throws to tie the game. After he limped off the court and into the locker room, refusing help or support, he walked back on under his own power, on his own strength and will. He showed the world how inspirational a pair of free throws could be, and the Lakers went on to win the game.
After the game Kobe, nearing tears, let the world know that this was not the end of Kobe Bryant. He told us he would be back and stronger. Who wouldn’t believe him? This is the Mamba. But the nature of the game threw another curveball at Kobe. As he returned in December of 2013, Kobe was beginning to get his playing legs back under him and started to find a rhythm within the Lakers offense. The Lakers team had managed to stay above .500 until he returned 21 games into the season. However, six games into his return, Kobe suffered a hairline fracture in his knee-cap, and when the report stated that Kobe would be out 4-6 weeks, a vast majority of Laker Nation gave up on the season.
To this point nothing this season has gone the Lakers way. But with this season coming to a close, and the Lakers out of the playoffs, Kobe Bryant has still found a way to incite some motivation and inspiration throughout Laker Nation. In a recent gathering at a mall in Los Angeles to talk about his new shoes, the “Kobe 9 Masterpiece”, he was quoted saying:
“What I’d like everybody to do is to really just sit back and just absorb this year. Take it all in. Remember who’s kicking you while your down, ’cause it ain’t gone be like this next year”.
Kobe’s recent comments also have many people thinking that Kobe is driven and on a mission, which comes as no surprise to Kobe supports. He’s been making assertive comments like something HAS to be done in the Lakers front office soon that puts the Lakers back in title contention. During his last press conference of the season Kobe stated that:
“It starts with the front office and having a clear direction and a clear authority and then it goes down to the coaching staff”. Big words from a big time player.”
Many people feel that Kobe is out of line for calling out the front office, who has made some questionable decisions outside of landing Dwight Howard last season, and the coaching staff who have not produced Laker-like results in the past two seasons. However, others feel that this was Kobe’s wake up call to the organization and that it was necessary for Kobe to let the front office know that he is not interested in sitting around and being average. Kobe Bean Bryant wants to go out on top and he wants to make this the most epic, electrifying, and immaculate comeback the NBA has ever seen.
The King of the Comeback is coming to claim his throne and to leave his legacy etched in stone.