The Night That Was

What a night of baskethoops it’s been. First I watched my Celtics claw back from their lifeless state in the first half, down 35-13 early and 23 at the half. Early in the third quarter they went on a 20-0 run and only allowed 5 Heat points the entire quarter. Isaiah Thomas eventually put the game away with a 3 to put the Celtics up 10 late.

But tonight wasn’t about the Celts. Sure, it was a playoff environment in the Garden. And sure, the Celtics finished in a four-way tie in the East, their reward being the 5 seed (cool).

Tonight was about the later games, which still aren’t over yet. Nonstop Kobe action, with a movie premiere-like flair in L.A. of all places for his final game. The Lakers may be a 16-win team, but at least for tonight they’re the Lakers of old, as all of the A-list celebrities who favored using the Staples Center for Clipper games the last few years showed to honor the Mamba.

Kobe has currently shot the ball 100+ times, so yes he does have 40+ points. Cameras just panned to his wife, she has large breasts. For some reason, there is now a white guy incessantly dribbling the ball… and I’m back.

In the other game the Warriors are approaching NBA All-Star game points against the Grizzlies as they’re about to win 73 games. Yes, 73. Yes, 73-9. No, no typo. Steph Curry now has over 400 threes, many of which may have come in this game.

Back to Kobe. The Lakers are down one with under a minute left. And Kobe has hit a jumper to give him 58 and the Lakers the lead. I actually don’t think he, the Lakers, or ESPN/the NBA could’ve gotten any more out of his last game. Now we will certainly hear about his performance for days to weeks on end. Which is OK, I guess. He’s a great player but during the playoffs, let’s focus on the playoffs OK? We’ll have plenty of time down the line to talk about how he’s one of the best ever, since ESPN still  isn’t entirely aware that Michael Jordan is not an active NBA player.

Golden State won going away 125-104, giving them 73 wins. Damn. Did I mention I hate this team? I hope they suffer the fate of my 2007 Patriots and lose in the Finals. But maybe this record will stand the test of time. That will be cool to say years down the road that I saw this team play and that their best player doesn’t look like he should own a driver’s license.

Kobe’s done and I’ve gotta say, it’s the end of an era. Until LeBron retires we won’t see another celebration of someone’s career quite like this. Maybe LeBron won’t see a treatment like this, if he doesn’t win a few more championships.

The point remains the same; there is no other active player that could potentially get the sendoff or have this deserving of a celebration of a career from this generation of players. KG is still in the game and although dominant for many years wasted much of his career in Minnesota and only captured one title.

It is kind of crazy to see all of this happening. My sports viewing career began with Kobe’s. During his and Shaq’s run, KG and T-Mac were the best players in the league along with the aforementioned. Watching someone’s entire career play out gives you depth that you can’t realistically explain to someone who didn’t experience it.

The same thoughts have danced through my head about what kind of transformative experience I’ll have when Tom Brady and David Ortiz are done, especially with Big Papi retiring at the end of the year. Much like I can’t picture the Patriots and Red Sox without them, I don’t think anyone can picture the Lakers without Kobe. Seeing them on TV, without number 8 or more recently 24 will create a strange void. Similar to how the Lakers on TV haven’t held the same clout as through the years, I can’t imagine what the future will hold for them.

Update: I’m still not a fan of farewell tours, but they can be kind of cool. That tribute set to Kygo’s “Stole the Show” gave me most, if not all of the feels.

I also realize my last three posts have been about the Lakers. I can guarantee you that this was unintentional and will literally never happen again, you guys.

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