Kobe is unbelievable, specifically at the age of 34 playing for 17 years...
It isn't just about him playing at a high level at 34. Most superstar players slow down by that age, but with Kobe, he's played so many extended seasons with the playoffs and finals, USA games, early practices and playing year round, that it's amazing he's still capable of doing what he does on a regular basis.
Ultimately, if you were to look at all the players who at one point were compared to him, or touted as "better", he's surpassed them all or hung around up to this point. Even the great Michael Jordan had a season and a half off in the 90's and played a few hundred less games than Kobe, but kept it up even at 34 to 35 years ago. Kobe is showing that he isn't just emulating greatness, he's creating his own chapters in his own book.
If there was a measuring stick of what any player should strive for in relation to longevity, it's Kobe. He's the measuring stick, the guy who the young players and today's generation should look up to and emulate in terms of work ethic and preparation. If there was any doubt that this man wasn't your typical superstar, this year has proven it. He's a megastar, a player who deserves the right to stand in his own shadow and not have to look up at anyone else. He's been able to separate that gap between himself and past greats by writing history beyond what anyone likely ever expected.
We've always known that he's special, a once in a lifetime player who likely will never be replaced in Lakers lure. Sure, we'll have other stars who play for this franchise, but like Magic, West, and Kareem, there will never be another Kobe.
For that, I am grateful that he's still donning the purple and gold and entertaining the fans with his will to win so we can celebrate along side with him and the rest of the team come June. It may not be a reality every season, but at least we can rest assured knowing that he's going to do whatever it takes to get us there. We don't have to worry about his loyalty or his declining talent, because when the time comes where he can no longer physically or mentally play at this level, he will likely hang them up.
To me, he's earned that right. He's earned the right to go out a superstar still playing at the peak of his career. Kobe Bryant is a player whose name is synonymous with winning, and because we've had him here for so many years, we sometimes take for granted what he's brought to this franchise in the past 17 years. He's an artist in his own right. His art may not be beautiful or elegant to some people, but to those who understand the canvas in which he lay, it's a masterpiece in it's finest form.
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