Remembering the Last Dance of the Black Mamba
|Powcast was there when Kobe visited Manila|
April 13th, 2016, a day declared as “Mamba Day”, is a memorable day for a die-hard Lakers and Kobe Bryant fans. It was not just the last dance for the 'Black Mamba' but also a celebration of Kobe Bryant’s career and all of his highlights and accomplishments.
There were countless video tributes of Kobe on social media the week before and I can't help but to feel emotional as I reminisce some good memories of the player I idolize while growing up. I can't believe that my all-time favorite and the fearless player that I idolize would be playing his final game.
As a Kobe and a Lakers fan, it felt good that the local TV channel that shows NBA games chose to show the Lakers game instead of the Warriors game who were going for the NBA record of most wins in an NBA regular season which was 73 wins. Before the game even started, my hand was sweating and I felt nervous. The same feeling I had when the Lakers played their game 7 against the Boston Celtics during the 2009-10 season. Then they showed tribute videos and messages from Kobe's former teammates and current NBA players. An evidence of how much impact Kobe had to the game of basketball. I was waiting for Kobe to be emotional while watching tributes for him but it was the same old Kobe, a competitor who doesn't show his weakness. Someone who would take his opponents head during 1-on-1 battles.
I was so excited for the game to start that I forgot to eat my breakfast. Then there was the tip-off, I waited for his first basket but Kobe started cold. I thought it would be another poor shooting night similar to his last few games. In my mind, I was thinking, maybe he's really good to go, maybe he's really done after those countless injuries and major setbacks late of his career. But after one basket, he got into his groove. He ended up scoring 15 points in the first quarter. At that point, I thought that was it since the Lakers were still trailing and what's the point of playing so hard on your last career game when you have showed almost everything during the last 20 years. However, Kobe was being Kobe that day. He scored 22 points at halftime on 20 shot attempts and did not slow down at all in the 2nd half.
For one last time, Kobe showed how great he is. He scored 13 unanswered points in the final two minutes. Kobe then brought the Lakers back to a win from a 10 point deficit with 2:36 remaining in the 4th quarter. I thought I was watching a fairy tale when I realize Kobe was going for 60. While I may not have been at the actual game, I was going nuts while watching him get into that 60 point mark. Three after three, it made me jump on my seat. Then he went to the free-throw line. It was a common sight. I knew he would make it despite looking tired and breathless. He made it to 60. The last play when Kobe threw a long pass to JC who then threw it down for a dunk really got me into tears. It seemed to be a moment that looks like a passing of the torch to the young core of the Lakers.
As I hear the buzzer sounded, it is when it began to sink in. Kobe Bryant's NBA career was over. It would take some time before we can see a player that would imitate Kobe Bryant's game like how he imitated Jordan. It will take some time before we will be able to see that nice looking fade away and that perfect shooting form ever again.