Kobe Bryant ended his playing career last year with a magical 60-point performance in the Los Angeles Lakers’ final game of the season. If the Lakers’ 17-win record guaranteed that Bryant wouldn’t go out “on top,” per se, but he did end things with a bang.
Nike declared the final day of Bryant’s career Mamba Day, and the whole event bordered as a religious experience for the zealous Lakers fans celebrating the end of his career. As with every life, Bryant’s basketball one had to come to an end.
It finally got it’s funeral on Tuesday. Bryant and Nike put on an event (fittingly on Dia de los Muertos, aka Day of the Dead) to announce the release of his first new shoe since ending his basketball career, and it isn’t an overstatement to say it might have been the most dramatic shoe release of all-time.
Alysha Tsuji of USA Today’s For the Win was in the building, and calling the event a funeral was not hyperbole. Take a look:
"Let us all gather around and bid our farewells ... Gone are the days of a legendary fade away as he fades away back to blackness" pic.twitter.com/Dqb1wp1HQf— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
There are these displays of his photos and black basketballs and shoes and hats pic.twitter.com/ehLBoyK6E2— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
They even have little Kobe action figures in this. pic.twitter.com/k33WHN9Khh— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
They're having people sign this book for Kobe as he stares at you from this curtain pic.twitter.com/t5pFWEPq1Q— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
Btw yes the Kobe A.D. stands for AFTER DEATH. So Kobe died his basketball death. Which is why this all looks so sad for Lakers fans.— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
Candles flicker around memories of Kobe from before his Nike basketball death pic.twitter.com/moNU74HDd6— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
There's even a Kobe Black Mamba ice cream cart. Super cool art. pic.twitter.com/eygqVJ4E2j— Alysha Tsuji (@AlyshaTsuji) November 1, 2016
Uhhhhh, is it time to ask if Kobe is all good? Like, the artwork and look of it was cool and all, but he didn’t die.
This does fit with his new desire to tell dramatic stories, however, and no one can argue that Bryant isn’t just as capable of putting on a show off of the court as he was on it.
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