End of an Era

By Darius Whitehurst

Pro-basketball legend Kobe Bryant has inspired many basketball players, including Bishop Sullivan’s own Gerrard Simpkins who recently signed to Bryant and Stratton.

Mr. Bryant “is the greatest basketball player of all time,” said Mr. Simpkins without hesitation. “He inspired me mentally and physically. His work ethic is crazy and his confidence is out of this world.”

Mr. Bryant retired at the end of this season from the LA Lakers.  What will Mr. Simpkins miss the most about him?

“Him never failing to do the impossible,” said Mr. Simpkins. And in his last game he did just that: he scored 60 points in his last victory in the NBA against the Utah Jazz.

Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was raised in a very athletic and competitive family. He is the youngest of three boys and both of his other brothers played basketball in the NBA. Kobe Bryant surpassed both of his brothers by being drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School as the thirteenth overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. Mr. Bryant was drafted to the Charlotte Hornets who then traded him to a team that he would stay and grow with for the rest of his 20 year career, the Los Angeles Lakers. With the Lakers, Kobe Bryant built a dynasty. Mr. Bryant won five NBA titles including a three-peat  for the years of 2000-2002 and a repeat in 2009-2010. Mr. Bryant is also the holder of many records. According to wikipedia.com Mr. Bryant holds or shares numerous NBA records:

  • Most Seasons played for a single NBA Franchise: 20
  • Most All-Star Game MVP awards won, career: 4 (tied with Bob Pettit)
  • Most All-Star Game field goals made, career: 115
  • Most offensive rebounds in an All-Star Game: 10
  • Most All-NBA Total Selections won, career: 16
  • Most All-NBA First Team honors won, career: 11 (tied with Karl Malone)
  • Most All-Defensive First Team honors won, career: 9 (tied with Michael Jordan, Gary Payton, and Kevin Garnett)
  • Only player in NBA history with more than 30,000 points, 6,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds.
  • Most three-point field goals made, one game: 12 (on January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics; shared with Donyell Marshall and Stephen Curry)
  • Most three-point field goal attempts, career-playoffs: 882
  • Most field goal attempts, career-playoffs: 4,500
  • Most three-point field goal attempts, career-finals: 153
  • Most free throws made, four-game playoff series: 51 (second round vs. Sacramento Kings, 2001)
  • Most points scored in one arena, career: 13,812 (as of March 9, 2012, at Staples Center, Los Angeles)  Surpassed Hakeem Olajuwon, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 24,000 points: (31 years, 76 days)  Surpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record. Since surpassed by LeBron James, who achieved this at 30 years, 17 days
  • Youngest player to score 25,000 points: (31 years, 151 daysSurpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record. Since surpassed by Lebron James.
  • Youngest player to score 26,000 points: (32 years, 80 daysSurpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record. Since surpassed by Lebron James.
  • Youngest player to score 27,000 points: (32 years, 160 daysSurpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 28,000 points: (33 years, 131 daysSurpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 29,000 points: (33 years, 199 days)
  • Surpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 30,000 points: (34 years, 104 daysSurpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 31,000 points: (34 years, 185 daysSurpassed Wilt Chamberlain, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 32,000 points: (36 years, 87 daysSurpassed Karl Malone, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to score 33,000 points: (37 years, 138 days)  Surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the previous holder of the record
  • Youngest player to be named to the NBA All-Rookie Team: (1996–97)
  • Youngest player to be named to the NBA All-Defensive Team: (1999–00)
  • Youngest player to start a game: (18 years, 158 days)
  • Youngest player to win the NBA Slam Dunk Championship: (18 years, 169 days)
  • Youngest player to start an All-Star game: (19 years, 169 days)
  • Only player in NBA history to score at least 600 points in the postseason for three consecutive years.  633 (2008), 695 (2009), 671 (2010)

Along with Kobe Bryant’s five championships, he was selected as an all-star 18 times and also won Olympic gold twice. Mr. Bryant was a phenom of his era and all eras of the NBA. He is the third all time leading scorer behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

Kobe Bryant once said, “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” This quote is a testament to Mr. Bryant’s hard work and it shows that he was always, as he says, “chasing perfection.”

Bishop Sullivan Junior and all-star Basketball player, Lance Tebay, will also miss the Black Mamba, a  name he earned by the many ways he would score and take over a game.

“It is really the end of an era. He was an elite level competitor and champion, and when he leaves the game won’t be the same,” said Mr. Tebay.

Mr. Simpkins and Mr. Tebay both share the same view about Mr. Bryant’s undying effort to be a success in the NBA and to be viewed as one of the greatest players of all time.  

Farewell Kobe Bryant.

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