Farwell to a Legend
Kobe Bryant was just 18 years old before he was a household names with people in the Philadelphia area. Lower Merion High School had a future Hall of Famer on their hands, a player that would change the landscape of the NBA forever.
The Black Mamba was a different jersey number when he first took broke the hearts out of Philadelphia fans. Number 8 marched into Philadelphia to claim his third NBA championship, along-side running mate Shaquille O’Neal.
After some comments made at the All-star game in Philadelphia that did not sit well with Philly fans, fans grew a love/hate relationship with soon to be number 24. Kobe was a player that Philadelphia fans loved to hate, but they always respected the show he would put on the hardwood on any given night.
Beginning his 20th season in the NBA, many people had the feeling that this may be the beginning of the end for Bryant. Injuries have been lingering for Kobe Bryant at the tail-end of his career, and many thought that he was one injury away from calling it a career.
With the news broken from ThePlayersTribune.com, Kobe Bryant released a poem claiming that this in fact will be his final season in the NBA. This news broke just days before his final return for the place he called home for several years, a meeting with his father’s former team: The Philadelphia 76ers.
The 0-18 Sixers had a lot on the line in tonight’s game. One more loss would have broken a record for the worst start to an NBA season, and they were honoring the recent passing of Sixers legend Moses Malone. All of that and a packed house to see Kobe Bryant’s last time lacing up in Philadelphia. The Wells Fargo Center was sold out to see the winless Sixers break their streak.
Nerlens Noel returned from his injury of knee soreness and did not disappoint one bit. Noel poured in 14 points and ripped down nine rebounds on the night, while shooting an efficient 5-7 from the floor. The high man of the night was Sixers forward, Robert Covington, who dropped 23 points, including five from downtown. Jerami Grant continued his great effort on the defensive end by swatting four Lakers on the night, while recording 14 points in the process.
Despite Kobe Bryant starting off hot, hitting three of his first four shots from deep, the Sixers were able to hold on and send the fans home smiling. The Sixers won by a margin of 103-91 and now have their first win of the season and are undefeated in the month of December.
Kobe Bryant, like the Sixers video board demonstrated tonight, the city of Philadelphia knew you before the whole world knew you, and that is something all of us Philly fans will treasure forever. The heart and will to win that you demonstrated every night is stored in NBA fans hearts forever, and this game will never be the same without you. Many of us grew up watching you from when we were little kids; we never knew an NBA without number 8 or 24. Thank you for giving the NBA your very best.
The Sixers (1-18) will visit the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 2nd.