Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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You know you are old when you realize that you have followed and witnessed the entire careers of two very famous basketball players from two different generations that will soon retire from playing the sport. I am discussing Michael Jordan and now Kolbe Bryant.  Kolbe entered the National Basketball Association as a 17 year old sensation. Over the past 20 years he has won 5 championships and guaranteed himself in the Hall of Fame. He is now in his final season and like Michael Jordan is looking forward to a life out of basketball.
Kolbe is the third highest scorer in NBA history. Kolbe announced his retirement abruptly this past November after just one month into this season. He wishes to be a writer and tell stories under his company simply called Kolbe Inc. You would thing he would be at least seeking more education first. I guess rich basketball players have no need for a English degree in a college. This year Kolbe Inc. produced a campaign called Hero Villain where home crowds chant love and away games they chant hate. Apparently the sounds haunt him and he doesn’t know any more if he is a hero or a villain. He hopes to soon be creating movies and books even video games.
He intends to write every day and not just lend his name to other people’s projects. Can he fuel a new career with the same intensity that he fueled his first career? His father was a professional basketball player in Italy. As a young boy he was just a little Italian boy who came to this country. It took a while for him to feel that America was his new home now. He was an introvert and always serious about the game since it was all he really knew. By age 21 Bryant and the Lakers won a championship. It was the first of three consecutive titles. There was a game where Jordan was in the stands watching Kolbe and the kid put on a real show for Jordan. He scored 40 points by the first half of the game.
In 2003 he was accused of sexual assault. Eventually the charges were dropped but he never regained his wholesome reputation back. He reached a civil suit settlement with the accuser and refuses to discuss the incident. By then he had a bad reputation and lived with it by being extra brash on the basketball court. When he goes on the court he is there to destroy you and not to be your best friend. When he wins he likes to flaunt it to others and get right in their face with no regret. This year has now become a farewell tour of sorts. He has only about 2 dozen more games to play and he is enjoying saying farewell at each game this time cheers from the away game fans as well.
Kolbe prefers to arrive at games to the Laker’s arena by helicopter. No traffic and it takes him 15 minutes from home to get there. 20 historic years in the NBA has its privileges. He is still young but his body has played more NBA minutes than 5 players in history. His body is hurting and his mind is energized. He wants to prove to others that we are more than what we do.  

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