This news didn’t come as a surprise as we saw Kobe Bryant fall apart and become a bandaged player that he once was. His shots were falling short and his mobility was limited. He has given his body everything he could in 20 years of basketball and this has become a sad ending to a storied career.
But I don’t care.
As much as I know and understand how great of a basketball player he is, I honestly don’t have any feelings toward this news or anything else right. I knew it was sad when his decline began a few years ago, but now it just feels like it’s been dragged out.
Growing up in the Bay Area as a Warriors fan, perception of basketball was different than the rest of the world. I wasn’t used to seeing my team win. I wasn’t used to seeing great superstars come through Oakland and staying. I didn’t think my team was good enough and they weren’t. I always had to look up at the Lakers and see them winning all the time and I didn’t like it. And Kobe Bryant was a big part of that. So in an essence, I didn’t like him.
Yes, I can say that he was a great player and he deserves all the accolades and all. But I don’t care about that. He was the villain. He was the player that never passed the ball (as the stereotype goes). He didn’t seem like a nice person. I just didn’t like him.
And that’s why people praise him. He’s the villain everywhere outside of Los Angeles. And because he excelled during a time for me where my team was always getting beat by his team, I don’t have any great feelings about him. He kept beating my team. He was just the guy I didn’t like.
So as he is set to retire, I still look back at his career. It’s full of good moments. But I rather remember moments like losing the NBA Finals to the Pistons and Celtics. Going 1-for-14 against the Warriors last week.
He built himself so high up with so many successes I had to see him fail every now and then. I liked it when he failed.
Just because he was a great player doesn’t mean I have to be all emotional about his departure. He was good, I know that.
But he was the bad guy. He was the one I didn’t like. He did things I didn’t like. He still remains as that guy I don’t like. He is my villain, the enemy of my team. No emotions here.
And he leaves as the villain — the role he embraced. And until the end of time, he will remain as that guy.
Maybe I do have one emotion to this: joy. He’s leaving now. The villain is finally going away. For the first time ever, Kobe Bryant has made me happy.