Brady’s Banter

On November 3 1996 a kid just out of high school played in his first NBA game. On April 13 2016 that kid will play in what will most likely be his last NBA game. Throughout those almost 20 years Kobe Bryant, the kid right out of high school, has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.

It wasn’t an easy road to being one of the greats for Kobe. He was a high school phenom at Lower Merion in Philadelphia and was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers the same night in what turned out to be a trade to remember.

Still 17 when he was drafted, Kobe’s parents had to co-sign his rookie contract and people began to realize just how young this professional athlete is.

He struggled mightily in his first year averaging 7.6 points, 1.3 assists, and 1.9 rebounds and it looked like it may have been a mistake skipping college.

In his second season, in an improved role on the team, Kobe averaged 15.4 points, 2.5 assists, and 3.1 rebounds and was voted to his first all-star game; he didn’t slow down from here.

When Kobe calls it quits at the end of this year his career averages will rank among some of the best averaging 25.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 5.3 rebounds along with 1.5 steals, displaying his defense prowess.

Going into this season people had their doubts about Kobe, his age, and recent injury plagued seasons. So far, at 37, he has torn his Achilles tendon, fractured his lateral tibia plateau, torn his rotator cuff, and has missed weeks at a time with various injuries to his calves and knees.

These doubts held true as the beginning of the 2015-2016 season was a tough one for Kobe. He had abysmal shooting nights, sometimes shooting 1-14 from the field. His team has struggled as they have in recent years, currently standing at 15th (out of 16) in the western conference. Kobe finally made the announcement everyone had expected for two years, this season would be his last.

With this announcement on November 29 he released a poem that was distributed to every Lakers’ fan attending the game that night.

“My heart can take the pounding/my mind can handle the grind/But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye,” wrote Kobe.

In this letter, Kobe also comments on when he realized his love for the game at age six and he thanked the city of Los Angeles and his team for everything they have done. Now that we know this will be Kobe’s farewell season, it’s a more appropriate time than ever to look back the most memorial moments of his career.

From becoming the first guard drafted out of high school, winning his first, of five, NBA championships in 2000, going through a rape scandal in 2003, to scoring 81 points (the second most in a single game) in 2006, Kobe has always given everything for his team and fans.

Although we didn’t get to see him face-off with his rival LeBron James in the Finals or tie his idol Michael Jordan with six championships, Kobe is one of the most loved and cherished athletes and will no doubt be immortalized in the NBA Hall of Fame.