If you don’t like basketball this is not a posting you want to read…
I grew up with Jordan. Went to Chicago despite a much better job in Florida just to have the opportunity to see him play.
I used to go much earlier than the start of the games just to see him and Pippen warm-up. “Unbelievable” simply doesn’t do justice to describe seeing the skills , grace and athleticism of the two of them.
In 2000 I saw Vince Carter and T-Mac in Toronto. Memorable but nothing Jordan like. Iverson was better than both- his drive to win was close to Jordan’s. He had no chance to “be like Mike”.
And then I saw Kobe. Smug, fast, egotistical, rude – smarter, more elegant and more focused than Iverson. A threat to Jordan’s legacy.
His skills and his drive were out of charts but I hated him for competing against Jordan. For being better that Pippen. For beating Pippen. For scoring 81 points something Jordan never did. He could but he didn’t.
I saw Kobe’s last game with Golden States. Curry’s son first quarter was magical- 20 points. Kobe scored two . He exploded in the second quarter. He got mad at Meta World Peace, scored some crazy baskets and put LA back in the game. He hurt his knee and then his ankle. He wanted to win and his body was getting a serious beating. And then very close to the end after he put LA in lead he tore his Achille’s tendon.
And as he walked out –a limping 35 years old unable to accept neither age or defeat I surprised myself feeling awfully sad. The Jordan I hated was walking out. The Jordan than I never wanted to see – the smug, egotistical, rude but out of this world when it came to basketball Jordan. He is what I hated in Kobe.And suddenly I saw the most amazing player of the last 13 years walking out hurt.
And I felt more than sad – I felt also stupid.