Sleepless night. Worst sports related night since 1991. Already going through the stages of grief. Having DVRed the game I saw the injury at around 11:30, though I had a sense of dread on the first knee grip, increasing with the second ankle jam. I thought "get him out, get him out". But it is KOBE! He just continued to fight through it as he has forever. Then the 3's. I just laughed, like, why ever doubt this guy. Then the 3rd fall and you knew. The fact he came and drained 2 FT's, the look of resignation and awareness on his face, may be one of the greatest/worst moments of his career. It brought tears.
If, if, IF, this is the last we see of vintage Kobe, the last few weeks, the last few games, I will never, ever forget though I very much look forward to otherwise never thinking about this nightmare season again.
We saw 3 games ago, what the last 14-15 years blessed us with. The money time explosion that Kobe could drop. How many countless times has he had double figure points in the 4th quarter? Willing his team to win. Best I've ever seen in 40 years at bursts of dominance when needed to win.
In Portland, what can you say. Amazing, brilliant, otherworldly. Kobe did everything. Again vintage Kobe and again a desperate need for it as he continued to carry his team on his tiring back to get in the playoffs.
Then last night. Fighting through a tough shooting night, not playing great, but then when it counts, when the time is needed to rise up , when it is great mental strength above all that is needed he came through again. Switching over to Curry and stopping him, hitting the big 3's, tying the game on one leg, knowing his Achilles is shot. Legendary!
If this is it for the Kobe we've always known, these games are a microcosm of his career. He is the toughest athlete in any sport I've ever seen, and only one or two have the will-power that can be mentioned in the same breath as him. He is the likes of which we will never see again.
Hoping to see you again Kobe, but if not THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
The Mount Rushmore of basketball history better start carving your likeness now.