Is this Kobe’s biggest game for his personal legacy? One SLAM writer thinks so.
SLAMOnline: On Saturday, ESPN will air, commercial-free, a highly positive documentary about the man who, despite what people will tell you about some kid from Akron who people are starting to notice, is still the NBA’s marquee name, and maybe the biggest name in team sports. (If you didn’t know this, then I have some things to tell you about the price of footlong sandwiches and Who Knows Drama.)
The next day, Kobe Bryant will suit up for the game with the highest stakes in any game of what is already a sure-fire Hall Of Fame Career. Now, I realize this sounds crazy. Kobe’s got three rings and two more conference championships to his name already.
How could a second-round game possibly be the most important one of his career? Because for all the championships, all the big shots, all the 40-point explosions against teams that thought they could get past him, Kobe has never been pushed to the precipice of true disappointment. Has Kobe’s legacy really ever been put in a “do or die” game before?
The three championships were his greatest triumph, and his stellar play en route to getting those rings is something that will always be a huge point in his favor. But was the pressure ever really on his shoulders like it is now?
He got his first ring, the monkey that took so many great players so many years to get off their back, if they ever did, at 22 years old, the clear beta dog on a team carried to the championship by Shaq averaging 30/15/3 throughout the entire playoffs while Kobe averaged a clean, complimentary 22.