After watching Kobe Bryant’s final NBA basketball game on Wednesday (April 13, 2016), I decided to put into words what it meant for myself and my family.
I start dating my sweetheart Clayton when we were in 10th grade. He had already had an allegiance to the Los Angeles Lakers, and it was because of Magic Johnson (Michigan State University). So, as we dated throughout high school and after, I became a fan as well – happily. I loved watching the team, and it was great to spend time with my sweetie watching games together when we could. After marriage in 1993, we had a satellite dish and were able to get in all of the games. It was wonderful!!!
All I remember about Kobe coming to the team is that there was so much promise surrounding him, and after watching him play over the years, it was evident. It was an exciting time, for sure. Kobe ended up being a Laker for life – a Laker legend.
Our family time has been filled with watching the Lakers. We watched EVERY game on TV that we could. If there was a blackout or we were traveling, we would listen on the radio and then catch the highlights on SportsCenter later. There is something so great about looking forward to something. Always knowing that if the season wasn’t that great, there would be another season to get excited for. Kobe made every season so much fun! The years with Shaq and Kobe were amazing.
Since we centered our life around watching the Lakers (and our Pittsburgh teams – Pirates, Penguins and Steelers), there have been so many memories that have been created. During the season, there are daily conversations about if there was a game that night, how the team was doing, etc. It fills up our life. My husband always joked that we were on West Coast time. We lived in the East, but always stayed up late to finish up the games. So fun.
We were never able to see Kobe play in Los Angeles, but did travel to Charlotte a few times to see him play there. We also drove up to our home state of Michigan when our son was young to see the Lakers play against the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 Finals. I believe it was Game 3 that we watched. We lost, but were glad that we had the chance to be there. 🙂
One of my fondest memories of Kobe’s career was his 81 point game. The game was played on January 22, 2006, and it ended on January 23rd, which is our son’s birthday. Incredible performance on that night. Another super great memory is of Clayton III when he was little reenacting the win over the Sacramento Kings in the 2002 NBA Playoffs where Kobe missed his shot, Shaq put up one and missed and then the ball got out to Robert Horry, who hit the game winning 3-pointer!!! Love that game!
And, Kobe’s last game was just as spectacular. One to be remembered! Kobe’s final game being played out last night was a joy to watch, especially with my two guys! He put on a show. 60 POINTS!!! He put his heart and soul into this game of basketball, and we all witnessed the talent, the love he has for the game and the dedication he showed! He will be missed on the court, but the memories will live on in so many people. My family and I will always remember the great player he was. Twenty years! Wow!! Thank you, Kobe, for entertaining us!!! 🙂
Sixty points and the victory in his final game. Legend. pic.twitter.com/bIipRQ1HIQ
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 14, 2016