Despite these past three seasons being mediocre ones for Kobe Bryant, there is no question he has the respect of everyone in the NBA. Players in the league know just how much of an impact Bryant has made to the game and even they are sad to see Bryant call it quits after a remarkable 20 seasons.
The Los Angeles Lakers visited Oracle Arena for the final time on Thursday night and it gave Bryant another opportunity to go up against the new superstar in the NBA, Stephen Curry. Los Angeles ended up losing the game by 18, 116-98, but the biggest story line was the passing of the torch from Kobe to Curry.
After the game, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News: shared the exchange the reigning league MVP had with the five-time champion:
Kobe to Curry: "Make history." Curry to Kobe: "I've got to chase you." Kobe: "Damn right, absolutely. Come & get it."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 15, 2016
The Warriors are looking to challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record in NBA history and they are on track to do so. The Bulls won 72 games that season and the Warriors currently stand at 37-3. As long as Golden State stays healthy and the players are focused on the record, this team has all the pieces to make history.
However, the goal does not stop at just the regular season record. The Warriors have their eyes on a second consecutive title and Kobe knows just what it takes to repeat as champions. His Lakers team in the early 2000s completed the three-peat and he was again able to win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 with Pau Gasol.
Everyone in the league admires what Kobe has done for basketball and fans will not be the only ones that will miss him when he’s gone, so will the players.