“Kobe. A name that means ‘basketball’ in five continents, because nobody has been social and global as the Black Mamba”.
The first memory to remind is the night of the 14 June 2000; game 4 of the NBA finals, LA Lakers against the Pacers of Bird and Miller, Conseco Fieldhouse sold out! Of course without Shaq (36 pts and 21 rebounds) the Lakers would have never won the match. But during the overtime O’Neal had to come out of the floor because of his sixth foul. A young guy (22 years old) had to guide the Lakers to the victory; 20 points in 48 minutes plus 8 during the OT. He completely dominated the match.
Another flash of the number 24 is a normal match of the regular season (January 2009): Spurs-Lakers in the AT&T Center. During the Spurs’ walckthrough, Popovich, who usually looks at the general characteristics of the enemy team, dwelt on the defense to play against Kobe. The spurs had to double him when possible and to “force him to give the ball away”. At the end, San Antonio won the match, but Bryant had the 60% from the field, 29 points, 10 assists and 7 rebound anyway.
Twenty years of his life and, so, a little bit of ours too. The Mamba never stops smiling, he spoke about ‘the right moment’. It si and will be really difficult to leave the game for him, he spent more than the half of his life on the parquet. But, it is clear, the moment has arrived.
-The 5 most difficult teams to face?
–The BULLS, when I joined the NBA. The CELTICS, in 2008. PISTONS, 2004. the KINGS, playoffs 2001-2002 and the SPURS, always.
-The 5 most difficult players to guard?
-Michael JORDAN, Hakeem OLAJUWON, LeBron JAMES, Kevin DURANT, Clyde DREXLER.