Last night in the fourth quarter I woke up just in time to see Kobe the Black Mamba with venom in his eyes willing his team to victory again. Being down the entire game Kobe whom had just hit a tough fade-away jump shot, a three pointer over a double team was heating up as usual in the 4th. I was glad I had set my alarm to witness another Kobe take over.
With less than 4 minutes on the clock he then came down and bought the fans to their feet at the Staple Center. He rose up almost four feet in from half court, with a hand in his face and drains a three pointer from the top of the key to give the Lakers a crucial lead in the game.
I seriously in my delirious state said to myself, “I am officially a Kobe fan.” I actually as much as I hate to say it cheered on that shot. Even though I was a Laker fan for as long as 2 minutes, I can say that I was just as sadden by what happened on the next sequence after that as any long time Laker fan.
Down by 2 Kobe gets open to get the ball again and attempts to drive to the basket. It looks as though he simply slips and falls on the play. Kobe doesn’t bounce back up though instead he’s rubbing the back of his foot. I get a queasy feeling in my stomach as I do when I see any player go down and as I saw the replay I immediately knew it was his Achilles.
I’ve seen it two too many times before. Initially with all the players I’ve seen it happen to or heard it happened to it’s the same reaction. I heard a pop and it was like somebody kicked me in the back of my foot.In Kobe’s red eye interview he said the exact same thing I’ve heard time and time before.
My friend, nor my teammates didn’t walk right afterwards and neither did Chauncy Billups when he went down with his Achilles injury last season with the Clippers or Tamika Catchings as the list goes on and on. They say the pain is to excruciating.
For Kobe Bryant though, the initial pain caused him just to call a time out as he was sitting on the floor. He refused help to the bench as he was helped up, but I could see the pain in his eyes and I sensed what I initially thought happened had happened.
Now what he did next is the reason I will stay a Kobe fan forever. After speaking with his trainer whom I assumed just told him your done if you can’t walk it’s serious. Kobe limps back onto the court, head high, cool as you can be with pain in your eyes and knocks down two crucial free throws to again tie the game. Listen healthy guys can’t even make regular free throws and he made two crucial ones on one leg.
This is not as legendary as New York’s Willis Reed scoring 4 points in a crucial championship playoff game 7 but for me what Kobe was able to do was similar in how inspiring it was.
Some will get mad that I’m even comparing but Kobe’s two free throws did inspire his team. You could see it in their eyes. There was no way they were going to lose that game which was a crucial in keeping their playoff hopes alive. Even Dwight Howard who has struggled with his free throws all season made 1 out of 2 to give the Lakers the lead and the win with under 2 seconds left to play.
Kobe making those two free throws may still inspire the Lakers to finish what Kobe wanted most this season and that’s the Lakers to make the playoffs. If it doesn’t Kobe definitely inspired me this morning and probably many other fans last night. Kobe walking back and hitting the free throws where so many say they couldn’t even walk just exemplifies his basketball character. His fearlessness, total domination, and will to win can never be challenged. There is also no way I could never become a fan.
Injuries are a part of the game, the worst part of the game, and for Kobe Bryant hopefully it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Prayers for a speedy recovery and even though I know how blessed I am to still be playing. Situations like these are little reminders to be grateful to play another day.
I love this game!
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