Lakers fans, say goodbye to your MVP

Joseph Lovercheck, Staff Writer

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It’s never easy to say goodbye. Whether you are saying goodbye to your mom before you head back to college, your grandma before you leave Christmas or you are watching your favorite sports hero take the court or field for the final time, it is never easy. This one will not be any different.

Kobe Bryant, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Lakers, announced on Nov. 29 that he will retire from the NBA at the conclusion of this season. Bryant is a five-time NBA champion and he is the only player in NBA history to play 20 seasons with the same franchise.

Bryant is, in my opinion, one of the greatest players to ever play the game. People my age, born 1996 or later, do not remember someone better than Kobe.

Kobe is the greatest player to play the game between the years 1999 and 2010. During that span, Kobe and the Lakers won five NBA Championships, and appeared in the NBA Championship two additional times. During Bryant’s last two NBA championships he was named the finals MVP (’09 and ’10.) He won only one NBA MVP award (2008) but was the NBA’s scoring leader in 2007 and ’08.

Kobe was also selected to an impressive 18 consecutive NBA All-Star games (a league record), earning the All-Star Game MVP four times.

Now, I am a LeBron James fan. I have never been a huge fan of Kobe. That is not to say I don’t see his talent, passion or love for the game.

Look at the accomplishments above, those are just a few of the major ones. After looking at them, it is hard to say that he is not great. No matter the sport, when you accomplish what he has, he will be missed and he will be remembered.

Kobe is one of the greatest to play this sport. Whether you are a fan of the old-school scorers like Wilt Chamberlain, the great Michael Jordan, or think someone else is the greatest ever, you would be a fool to not include Kobe in your list of greats.

Why did I never call myself a fan of Kobe? To that I have no true answer. I can’t give you specifics, all I can tell you is I honestly never really liked him. Now that I look back, I realize that I probably should have given Kobe more respect than I did as a youth.

Probably Kobe’s best single game was his 81-point night. This happened on January 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, search “Kobe’s 81 point game video.” This is the second greatest scoring performance in NBA history, behind the great Chamberlain when he scored 100 points against the New York Knickerbockers.

I hope I speak for the majority of NBA fans when I say Kobe will be missed. It was great watching you play.

If you haven’t read Kobe’s retirement poem, I would encourage you to do so. Just search “Kobe Bryant: Dear Basketball.”

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