After a 20-year career, Kobe Bean Bryant will play his last NBA game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. He will leave the game as one of the all-time greats regardless of the era, his position, or any type of rule changes. Kobe is that rare player who was around during the end of the Michael Jordan era, his own dominant era, the LeBron James era, and now the Stephen Curry era. Kobe has truly seen it all and been a polarizing figure in the NBA since coming in straight out of high school. Donning a suit and shades, he first showed the world his arrogant side in his Philly-area high school gymnasium while announcing his intentions to go pro and skip college.
We have all come to know and love (or hate) Kobe for his cockiness and arrogance, but have marveled at how good he really is and the length of time he was able to consistently produce. Many basketball fanatics (mostly Jordan fans) always assumed that Kobe just jacked MJ’s whole style, until they really sat down and watched the Lakers play. In the beginning, you had this teenage kid with the confidence of a veteran and the skills and athleticism of a young…MJ. NBA teams almost had to game plan for the Lakers by assuming Kobe was going to put up 30. Kobe was also a fierce cutthroat competitor and would stop at nothing to get the upper hand on opponents. He was especially notorious for his machine-like work ethic and middle of the night grueling workout sessions.