Yeah, He’s That Good
I’ve been following sports, both watching them and attending them for almost 15 years now, which incredibly accounts for 3/4 of my life to this point. And throughout the years, while I have consistently cheered for my favorite teams, there are athletes who almost transcend the sport they play.
The obvious first name that comes to mind is Michael Jordan. I had the privilege of getting to see His Airness play at the very first professional basketball game I went to, which was a playoff game between the Knicks and Bulls in 1996. Not bad for an introduction to the NBA huh?
At the time I was only 9, and a little too young to really appreciate that fact that I was getting to watch one of the greatest athletes and most famous people in history before my eyes, and as a result I made it a point to get to the Garden again when he came back a few years ago to play with Washington.
It does not seem like much, but imagine seeing your favorite singer or band live in concert. The thrill you get is so great that you struggle to even describe it. And some performers, whether they be pro athletes or musicians or actors are just worth the price of admission.
This weekend I went against everything I have decided to stand for which is to boycott Knicks games, because Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were making their only trip to New York.
Now nobody will say that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are at the same level of paying a ridiculous amount of money to watch in person, however in the professional sports scene of 2007, Kobe is (in my opinion) the closest thing to MJ that the NBA has.
You can say what you want about Kobe, the fact he was accused of rape, cheated on his wife, demanded trades, supposedly caused the break-up of his marriage with Shaq ending the Laker dynasty of the early 2000’s. All are valid.
But plain and simple, the guy is worth showing up for.
There are few examples in sports and entertainment where you can witness something in person and just feel the greatness that accompanies it.
To me, Kobe Bryant falls under that category.
And yesterday he did not disappoint.
He scored 39 points, along way passing the 20,000 career point plateau, making himself the youngest person in NBA history to do so. He was younger than Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and yes, Michael Jordan.
And while the Knicks lost yet another meaningless game (surprise there), leaving the game yesterday in spite of the fact my team lost did not seem to matter, as I had a rare sense of delight walking out of the world’s most famous arena, because I realized I had just gotten a chance to see something pretty special in person.
Now all that being said, I here-by declare that I have been to Madison Square Garden for the last time in support of the Knicks. The team continues to play without any passion, and when they do turn the light switch on and show signs of life, they ultimately end up disappointing, as they did yesterday.
At least for one afternoon, a Knicks game was worth attending, even if it was only because of the guy on the other team putting them out of their misery.
Like Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller before him, Kobe still found a way to get the New York crowd’s respect.
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