NBA legend Kobe Bryant has had a handful of delightful and memorable moments with the New York Knicks and the city of New York as a whole.
This may be found under the New York Knicks beat section, but unfortunately, travesties like the following, concern us all.
NBA legend, husband and father of 4, Kobe Bryant, was tragically involved in a horrific helicopter accident that involved four others. Fans all around the globe can’t seem to grasp their heads around the fact that such an iconic figure is no longer with us.
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The legacy he has left upon us exceeds every expectation people had for him when he first entered the league, in 1996. Originally nothing but a high school prospect, Bryant was even traded on draft night. That is when he knew he had to start proving people wrong.
Bryant devoted himself to the city of Los Angeles, spending 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. There, he would contribute a fair share in winning 5 NBA Championships while being named as the Finals MVP twice.
On a more personal record, Bryant would also bring home an MVP award, 2 scoring titles and be an 18x All-Star.
But Kobe was not just a basketball player living in LA for a couple of decades. “He defined more than basketball in Los Angeles”.
Think about this. You are writing something down but make a mistake and ruin the entire page. You roll up the paper sheet into a ball. Right before you toss it into the bin, what is it that you yell? If your answer isn’t “Kobe!” then you may have no soul.
So where do the New York Knicks enter this topic of discussion? As with pretty much any other story, the Knicks aren’t just your ordinary team that has had some fond memories of Bryant.
The man, the myth, the legend that would go on to score more than 33,000 career points, opened his scoring tab right at Madison Square Garden by cashing in on the simplest shot of them all, a free-throw.
Other than this simple, yet charming, coincidence, Bryant would also be the one to set the record for most points scored at Madison Square Garden.
On February 2nd, 2009, Bryant would erupt for a 61-point performance to set a new record in front of a wowing New York crowd. Carmelo Anthony would then go on to surpass that performance by one point a few years later.
Kobe was simply unstoppable that night. Other than shooting 19-31 from the field, he would also be perfect from the free-throw line, at 20-20. This guy seems to like making free-throws in New York.
Well, if he enjoyed it so much, then why didn’t he ever come to play for the New York Knicks? Well, Knicks fans may get constantly ridiculed nowadays for their insane make-up stories and rumors, but back then, everybody wanted a piece of New York.
Additionally, the first-ever time he was named an All-Star was in New York. The year was 1998 and a very young Black Mamba would go on to start at the All-Star Game in Madison Square Garden, where he dueled with the one and only, Michael Jordan.
It is becoming more and more clear that Bryant has had some treasured memories both with the New York Knicks and in The Big Apple in general.
The only thing that was left to do, was for this wonderful journey to end as perfectly as it started. And boy, it did just that.
In his final game against the Knicks at MSG, Bryant would duel against Carmelo Anthony in a very exciting and nail-biting game.
Despite being rather inefficient that night, the crowd didn’t seem to dislike what they saw as they didn’t hesitate to initiate in “MVP” chants right in the middle of the third quarter.
Even though it is such a shame to see one of the all-time greats taken at an extremely young age, we have to look back and appreciate everything the Black Mamba did for the game of basketball.
Mr. Bryant, it was an honor watching you exist.