There’s No Time Left To Hate Kobe

Remember when Snoop came through and crushed the buildings, hurt some feelings and then stepped out at the Source Awards and uttered these words:

“Y’all don’t love us? Y’all don’t love us? Well let it be known!”

That can apply to one Kobe Bean Bryant, who essentially announced to that these two upcoming years would be his last. Next to Earvin and Michael, whose career has been more important in our lifetimes?

You could argue Shaquille O’Neal, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you; but Kobe, unlike any other in recent memory, has maxed out on his body, his love, his education of the game – driving himself to the limit. You could call it selfish, self-serving or whatever, but save for one frustrated half in Phoenix, the brotha gave it his all. (And truth be told, if you wasted one of the best individual seasons in NBA history passing to the likes of Smush and Kwame, you’d boycott too)

And y’all don’t love him.

I get it. Eagle, Colo., putting Shaq’s name out to the police (a BIG no-no), the whole “taking MJ’s persona” in the beginning – it has rubbed people the wrong way. But what was he guilty of, other having the audacity to come after MJ’s throne, unashamedly, instead of bowing to it, then backing it up with hard work?

Ten years from now, will we be able to say LeBron James has played on two (or possibly three) incarnations of title-contending teams with five rings (and a chance for a sixth)? And Kobe’s game has taken three different turns, including this last one, where he’s testing the limits of what we believed was possible in terms of effectiveness and longevity.

Usually, that would earn our admiration and video tributes at every stop. With Mike in ‘97-‘98, we knew he was stepping away; but we knew he didn’t want to, that Krause and Co. were intent on pushing Da Bulls off the stage. We knew he had something left and to a certain degree, his Wizards comeback was predictable.

Nobody saw Magic’s condition coming. He was never properly appreciated on his way out or even his successful return to the L in 96 (You don’t think it was successful? 15, 7 and 6 are numbers most would kill for). Isiah Thomas wasn’t given a proper farewell, either.

For some reason, this par for the course. Unlike with Dr. J or Kareem, in the effort to crown the next, these days we seem forget to pay due homage to greatness

Bean came in with these guys, was knocking on the door during Mike’s last gasp, stayed ahead of the Carters and McGradys when their games ebbed and flowed, and now, going on years 17 and 18, he’s still a problem for KD and LeBron. 

But we’ve been too busy saying “he’s not Jordan.”.Well hell, who’s “Kobe”?

One day soon, whether he retires with five rings or six or seven, we won’t have him to kick around anymore, to say who he isn’t better than. But when Gen X looks at things later on and sees a top-8 player that wasn’t fully given his due for whatever reason, Snoop’s voice will stick in your heads.

“Y’all don’t love us? Y’all don’t love us?”

Appreciate that man. You won't see another one like him anytime soon.

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