Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend the Lakers vs. Bucks game here in Milwaukee to see Kobe Bryant’s final game in Brew City. As soon as I saw a tweet about Kobe retiring back in the fall, I immediately went online and bought tickets.
I’m originally from the Chicagoland area and now attending Marquette University, so I looked at tickets both back home and in Milwaukee. It was a no brainier, had to get the tickets here at the Bradley Center, couldn’t beat those prices for lower level seats. The price eventually went up as more and more people wanted to see Kobe’s finale vs the Bucks, so smart move on my part.
As soon as I entered the arena I could see Kobe jerseys everywhere. Both #8 and #24, and even some #33 Lower Merion High School jerseys. There was sea of gold and purple around the BC. It was obvious who people came to see. I was there for the same reason, had to pay respects to the Legend. I’m only 20 years old, so Kobe was the greatest player of my childhood, he was my generation’s Michael Jordan.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Kobe play a couple times live against my Bulls, but I knew last night was going to be different. It was going to be special. Kobe’s farewell tour has been going on for the last couple months, and to witness that was a great experience.
Kobe’s intro was amazing. The Bucks put together a video montage of some Kobe’s greatest moments/plays narrated by fellow legend, Coach Jason Kidd. The entire stadium was on their feet clapping and chanting “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe!” This has been a common occurrence throughout his final season, and it goes to show how much he meant to the game of basketball and the NBA as well.
Obviously the Lakers have fallen from royalty the past three years, and I was not expecting much from them. They are literally a JV squad in the league, I saw it with my own eyes last night and it was horrendous. But never mind that, back to Kobe. He wasn’t going to be the Kobe Bryant we were accustomed to. I think everyone knew that, but just seeing him out there playing the game he loved is something to remember. He is playing this season for the love of the game, as cliche as it may sound.
Kobe ended up finishing the game with 15 points, and didn’t really play significant minutes in the second half, as Byron Scott tends to play the younger guys if they are down. After every point Kobe scored, even free throws, the crowd was electric, cheering for him. The crowd knew when Kobe was checking out for the final time here in Milwaukee, and once again everyone was on their feet.
The Bucks ended up winning the game 108-101, but that wasn’t what I was thinking about. I was grateful for witnessing the Black Mamba play one more time. As a fan and lover of the game, Kobe, thank you for 20 years of some of the greatest basketball in the history of the sport. You will be missed and you will never be forgotten.