Name: Yaseen Manan | Twitter: @Seenamatic
Subject: The Dark Knight
Friday, April 12, 2013. There’s 10:33 left in the 3rd quarter.
Kobe drives baseline on Harrison Barnes and meets Festus Ezeli at the rim. Foul. Kobe goes down; clutching his left knee.
Michael Jordan was recently interviewed by Ahmad Rashad. In the interview Jordan spoke of a curse that only him and Kobe understand. A curse of greatness, a curse of heroes.
Both Jordan and Kobe had never had anything handed to them. In those experiences, they developed the most inhuman work ethic, drive and willpower to accomplish what they must.
Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player and Kobe one of the greatest of all time. But it wasn’t always that way. They weren’t the #1 picks in their respective drafts, they were not hyped as the next phenoms and they constantly met skeptics at every turn they took.
Remember when Iverson and Vince Carter were better prospects than Kobe to take Jordan’s throne? Remember when they said he couldn’t do it without Shaq? Remember when they said he didn’t make his teammates better or that he padded his stats when he scored 35 points a game? Remember when they said Lebron was better? Or that he shot too much? Or …
The 6:03 mark of the 3rd quarter.
Kobe receives a pass, drives baseline, gets hit. Foul. Kobe lands awkward on his right leg and is hobbling.
Kobe in some ways is like the Dark Knight. Given no special ability, he learned to maximize what he had and was given. He carried the curse of being in the first era after the Jordan era. But most importantly, when this season was on the brink of destruction, it was Kobe who rose to the challenge.
Steve Nash has been sidelined for extended time like Captain Gordon, who found himself in the hospital. Pau Gasol was trying to find a place in the system like Catwoman discovering her role. Dwight Howard was confused on his role and was thirsty to rise like Robin John Blake, who eventually was handed the keys to the bat lair.
But when a threat of a nuclear explosion came, it was Kobe Bryant in his Batmobile, carrying the bomb by himself to save the Lakers’ season.
5:08 in the 4th quarter.
Kobe hits a 3.
3:48 in the 4th quarter.
Kobe hits a 3.
3:09 in the 4th quarter.
Kobe drives and falls.
The hero has fallen after bringing his team back from a nine-point deficit to tie the game at 109-109. His body finally breaking down under the pressure of his will and fire. The minutes and injuries finally have caught up to him.
It wasn’t the left knee or the right foot. It was the hero’s achilles. He’s the hero we deserved.
He is not Superman. He is not Michael Jordan.
He is the Dark Knight.
He is Kobe Bryant.
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