Basketball fans from the world over witnessed the royal sendoff of Kobe Bryant during his final game for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday (Manila Time).
Frankly, I was no longer surprised to see Bryant drop 60 points against the Jazz.
Yes, his body, legs, knees and ankles have taken severe battering during his 20-year NBA career, but one thing that remained a constant for Bryant was his unquestionable will to win.
And given that Thursday was his final game as an NBA player, it was but fitting for him to leave the game he has learned to love with a passion on top and a winner. (Never mind if the Lakers are finishing with the worst record in franchise history with just 17 wins to show.)
Personally, seeing him hit those jumpers, drive to the basket, a few twisting layups and free throws made me wonder if he was really set to leave the game.
Deep inside, I was just hoping he’d “reconsider” his decision to retire, knowing that he can still contribute to the game and to the league, which may not necessarily be scoring all the time, but leadership to the young and the new in the Lakers core .
But then again, when he grabbed the microphone to address the jampacked crowd at the Staples Center, shortly after ending his NBA career with a dominating and vintage performance in the fourth quarter, reality bit me — the Black Mamba is finally out for good.
For all the news that he made as an NBA player, his last game will leave a lasting memory to basketball fans.
And me? It’s a story worth sharing to my kids and future grand kids that I was able to watch and yes, cover and write something (in his previous visits to Manila) about Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest NBA players of this generation.