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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Byrant: Who said 34 was Old?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

If there ever were an athlete who defied all laws of time, it would be Kobe Byrant.

The lifetime Los Angeles Lakers is in his 17th season, and yet he managed to play 47 minutes on Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks. But to say that Byrant simply played 47 minutes wouldn’t do justice to the basketball mastery that he demonstrated.

In a critical game, in which the Lakers needed a victory to stay on pace with the Utah Jazz, Byrant delivered, and in such a manner that fans of the game can’t help but marvel at his feats. Byrant notched his 19th career triple-double in the victory against the Mavericks, with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Despite many of the pitfalls of the Lakers this season, one thing that can’t be denied is Byrant’s outstanding performances.

I’ve been watching Byrant play since I was a child, and he was just entering the league in 1996, and let me assure you there hasn’t been a single season where I haven’t sat in awe witnessing what that man can do on the court. Byrant’s miraculous capabilities have situated him as arguably the greatest player of all time, and his game will be immortalized in basketball history for as long as there is basketball.

Tuesday night’s game has made me consider, though, what will the Lakers do when Byrant retires. This is a poignant question that Laker nation must face, and inevitably accept. Sure, the Lakers would be able to afford essentially any player with the money that comes with Byrant’s contract being up, but does it truly matter. Of course it matters in terms of the team’s performance, but I’m talking about more about on a personal level.

Laker fans all across the nation know, and have known, that Byrant is the face of the franchise, both in terms of talent level and as the team’s image. To put it plainly, Kobe is the Lakers. So, as a gold and purple bleeding Lakers fan I feel apprehension for the future, that’s not to say Dwight Howard isn’t a great player with immense potential, I simply mean it’s going to be hard envisioning a Lakers team without Byrant.

The only thing I can definitively say is that I will shed a heart felt tear when Byrant steps off the court one last time to the thunderous roars of adorning Laker fans.