Sunday, 13 March 2016
#TheKobeSeries THE GRATEFUL EIGHT/FOREVER 24
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Face it beans, it's almost over! The chips are well and truly down. The games almost in the refrigerator and you know all too well about the jello. Soon the man that will join the legendary Los Angeles Laker legacy making likes of Chickie, Magic, Kareem, the Logo and his old Wild West partner Shaq in a forum of bronze in the purple heart of the downtown City of Lost Angels will retire. That will be it! Day called. No more purple reign in So Cal. But as Kobe Bryant hangs up those Nikes which of his iconic purple and gold jerseys will be worthy enough to be raised to the Big Game, silk, stilted rafters with the likes of the aformentioned, Jaamal Wilkes, James Worthy, Gail Goodrich, Elgin Baylor and of course Wilt Chamberlain, the 100 point man who only Kobe got as close to like Jordan!?
In the last Great Western days when the Lakers played in their Ingelwood, white pillared colliseum and still rocked their Showtime 80's uniforms with the purple and white lined piping, it was an 18 year old kid with an afro and sunglasses to match that was the hottest thing in California and Lakers attire in the 90's not named Rene Russo. Some didn't get this shorty but after many Jazz to Utah's ears airballs made him be cool, he went ultra Travolta when he found his Saturday Night, Grease slick rhythm. There was the Slam Dunk contest win back in the bald M.J. days where this young Airness didn't even bother to work out of his warm-ups and then there was the move. The major shift like number 23 laying it up in the line, changing hands. New digs, new unis and a new approach saw Kobe leap into Shaq's arms before the death of a dynasty rocked these fellas as he won his first championship and then went all Lionel Richie, once, twice, thrice times a Larry O'Brien lover for the Mike like threepeat. If that wasn't enough once Big Daddy took his talents to the Heat of South Beach, this little red Corvette and Prince that would be King busted through all sorts of brick walls, car jumping like he ran off Diesel and not Aristotle. Then if that wasn't enough Kobe Bryant almost jumped over the Big Dipper...forget Jumpman. Over Drake's Toronto Raptors a decade ago when Aubrey Graham was just a teen T.V. show idol, the Black Mamba finally found his venom sinking more points into Canada then he did against the Mavericks of Dallas just a few weeks, three quarters and 62 points ago. If you want to put Kobe Bryant's number 8 number up in the championship banner ceiling, where you can't even find the range of his talent, you just may want to add a one next to it.
24 Carat Purple & Gold.
One over Jordan. That's what people think. But Kobe Bryant's counting up to number 24 represented more than that, or number 23 for the man that chose his Lower Merion High School digits before 33 (which obviously Kobe couldn't rock because of Kareem). It meant redemption. The post Diesel and Zen age that saw Kobe reunite with...well Phil Jackson. And then D-Fish, class of '96. Before being fast and furious nitrus injected with some real championship Gasoline in the form of his second partner in victory crime Pau Gasol. But let's not forget number seven who got them to heaven (we see you Lamar Odom...stay on the up!). Kobe took the number 24 and a real 15 to go for his one goal. Two more of the same thing Gollum found so precious. But this Vino was more Voldermort as he looked to wizard his way to being the NBA's Lord of the Rings...he even dressed up as the big, bad with no nose from 'Harry Potter' for Halloween. But Kobe had one for the legend of Larry...scary huh?! The perfect villain. It was no more Mr. Nice Guy for the most competitive player since the hero from Chicago that wore a gold rope around his neck. But forget the great debate between the constant Kobe against Mike, head-to-head comparisons. What if Bryant played himself? Young vs old. Number 8 versus number 24. Vino V Bean. Batman against the Dark Knight. Forget the Man of Steel, Superman! From father calling time (no Jellybean) to injury crippling prime, Kobe's been fighting enough of himself and his own demons over the last few years and closing chapters of his career. Twenty four hours a day. Get it? Eight days a week?! To be one of basketballs Beatles in a fab four with the real, only big-three of Michael, Magic and Bird. Perhaps his greatest victory wasn't the one soaked in sweat and champagne but the one drenched and drowned in perspiration and pain. How he's bled purple...not just lived gold. And oh how has be aspired to prevail. Through tearing rotator cuff to pushing his achillies back into place, getting back up like Rocky, hitting two free throws back before walking off on his own terms, when most would tear up in a wheelchair. Can you roll and rock with that? Kobe's been more than a peach with the orange basketball son. He's been everything between a hard place. And when he's finally put down like the doberman this Olympian athlete is...I say put both up there.
Number 8? Number 24? I don't care! Kobe Bryant will always be the one!