The scene was set; The Lakers had arguably the most successful offseason in a decade, aquiring Hall of fame point guard Steve Nash, wily veteran Antawn Jamison, young 3-point specialist Jodie Meeks, and the best center in the league, and all around goofy guy Dwight Howard, nearly guaranteeing the Lakers mark on the 2012-13 Season, and history. All while maintaining Pau Gasol, and some guy named Kobe Bryant.
Everyone knows who this is. One of the most polarizing players in the past two decades. Bringing the Lakers 5 championships, and doing so giving everything he could to win. Kobe's mindset can't truly be described, at least not in our vocabulary. He gives it everything, he wants to win it all, he never wants to lose. These absolutes don't give credit to how much he wants to win, or, even, how much we love to watch him.
We all can admit that Kobe is one of the greatest to ever play the game, whether through hate, jealousy, and conspiracy theories, or through admiration, love, and desire to watch him play. His game isn't like anyone else's; you can't compare him to anyone who has played the game. Yes, Michael was the same animal, but he was a different beast. Michael was a machine. He scored through his relentless offense, scoring by any means necessary. Kobe does this, but he is an artist. You give him a ball and a hoop, and he will paint you a picture differently than anyone else. His fadeaway is similar to Michael's, but he is smoother. He makes the same shots, but they are different. His footwork is impeccable, like that of no other. His absolute desire to win through any means necessary, either by working out and practicing all day, or by changing his game just to win. His ability to make a defender think he can only go 2 ways, but he is able to find a third. He isn't the best 3-point shooter, but he makes the ones that matter. The 3-point shots he seems to make are the 35 foot, contested, stand-still, shot clock beating shots that make you scream "NO!", but seconds later fill your bodies with a rush of adrenaline and excitement, making you shout with pure joy as the ball snaps the net, that only one player can provide: Kobe Bean Bryant.
Polo shirts. They're nice shirts, but without the logo, it's just a shirt. Any other logo, and it really isn't the same.
The Lakers and Kobe are somewhat similar.
The Lakers are my favorite franchise, with or without him, but the Lakers without the man we have been blessed with for 17 years from a little high school in Lower Merion, lose some Identity.
Whatever the future brings, and the results of the injury are brought into the light, I don't really care if Kobe plays again this season. All I want to know is that I will see him take the court again, to provide that feeling that only one man can bring:
I wish everyone had the same opinion that I do, but that may never be a reality.
But I realize what he has done, and most of you do too.
We know what he has done, and we appreciate it. That's all that matters.
Get well Mr.Bryant, we wish you the best, and eagerly look forward to your return.