30,000-plus points. Five-time NBA Champion. Took R&B singer Brandy to his high-school prom.
So, Kobe Bean Bryant, where do you go from the top? You go over the top!!
And that’s exactly what Bryant scoring 30,000 points over the course of his 17-year career is. Over the top. In a good way, of course.
I lament at fans and critics who say Bryant cemented his legacy by scoring 30,000 points, which is not true. Kobe Bryant is the ultimate competitor. He measures himself by championships, not individual accolades (anymore). He still attacks “fast and strong”. He’s still the same beast and a different animal.
Bryant’s legacy is already written as the 2nd coming of Michael Jordan. Whether you like him or not, you respect Kobe’s gamesmanship and old-school mentality in an era of buddy-buddy, AAU culture-driven NBA basketball. The “Kobe System” works.
Kobe’s filter knows no-bounds. His mental toughness and competitive relentlessness makes him incredibly difficult to deal with for coaches, teammates, and opponents alike. He’s always marched to his the beat of his own drum. His game is beyond polished and he has the hardware and accolades to back it up. The “Kobe System” still works.
Watching Kobe nowadays is a treat for older and younger NBA fans alike. The incredible footwork. The craftiness and the ability to score at will. The surly and candid pre- and post-game interviews. Its all quite refreshing to behold in such a calculated, contrived NBA PR era. We all grew up with Kobe being a cocky kid from Lower Marion. We all saw him come off the bench behind Eddie Jones, and make an All-Star team as a 6th man. We saw the 81 point game. We saw the 62 point game in three quarters.
Bryant is not short of fair criticism; we’ve seen “Hero Ball” save the Los Angeles Lakers from mediocrity and sink them in the same breath. We saw him get caught up in scandal several times. We remember the public feud with Shaquille O’Neal. Phil Jackson wrote a book about him. Who cares? The “Kobe System” still works.
Regardless if Bryant is able to obtain another championship ring or not, his legacy is beyond cemented. He has nothing to prove. He is one of the last great pure basketball athlete of our generation. He’s not looking to be popular. He’s not looking for any more attention outside of basketball acclaim.
You will probably never see Kobe on Twitter. You may never see Kobe at awards ceremonies or celebratory events. He’s not interested in building a brand or empire. He is 100% basketball at all times, and that’s how the “Kobe System” works.