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It’s been two days since Kobe shocked everyone, including himself, by scoring 60 points in his epic farewell game.

In the lead up to and the aftermath of the game there have been so many great stories to read, podcasts to listen to, and videos to watch that I haven’t gotten close to getting through all of them. I joked I might get through them all until the summer is over, which is more accurate than hype.

There is one video, though, that is worth your time right now. Watch this fantastic highlight/tribute video from @Maxamillion711 from Kobe’s last game:

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It is hard to think about it this way now after 20 years of amazing play that has made the sublime routine, but Kobe has built a career, no, a legend, off defying odds. It seems strange to say this about someone whose father was an NBA player and has the pedigree he does, but it’s true.

A prep-to-pros guard wasn’t supposed to make a successful jump from highschool to the NBA. He wasn’t supposed to be an All-Star so soon. He wasn’t supposed to be a champion. He wasn’t supposed to win without Shaq. Wasn’t supposed to come back from a torn achilles. Or a broken knee cap. Or a torn up shoulder.

And he sure as hell wasn’t supposed to score 60 points in the final game of his 20 year career.

But he were are. I guess after 20 years of turning impossible moments into expected ones, we shouldn’t be so surprised. Again, though, here we are.

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This is it. The end of a season. The end of a career. Both of these carry meaning, but only one of them really matters to me today.

Thank you to Kobe for a wonderful 20 years with the franchise I root for. There has been much written and said over the years, but there has been way more good than bad and the highs provided are ones which will stick with me forever.

I really have nothing else to add. Enjoy the game, folks. Regardless of the outcome and the final score, I know I will.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet and ESPN2 nationally. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.

Thank You, Kobe

Darius Soriano —  April 13, 2016

Over the years we have said so much. Now, on this final day of his career, there’s only one thing left: Thank you, Kobe.

(video by @MaxaMillion711)

Mamba Day is Coming…

Darius Soriano —  April 10, 2016

Nike has labeled April 13th “Mamba Day” in celebration of Kobe Bryant’s last game of his career. They’re dropping commemorative shoes and will surely have more product for your consumption as the day rolls around.

They have also released a great video with their signature athletes (and others, including Phil Jackson) talking about Kobe, telling stories, and describing him in a single word. It’s a great clip. Check it out below.

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We never got to see Kobe and LeBron compete against each other on highest stage. Their entire careers, divided by opposing conferences, Dwight or Dirk or Timmy or KG always seemed to spoil the match up we longed for most. Instead, we got regular season games, the closing minutes off All-Star Sunday, and them teaming up for Olympic Gold. These may not be the moments which create a true rivalry, but they are moments we will remember all the same.

Thursday night’s game between these two will be the same. In the last time these two players will share the court, they provided some classic moments, reminding us of what made them so great and why we longed so badly for a Finals series between their respective teams.

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D’Angelo Russell returned to the Lakers’ starting lineup four games ago. Since that return he has averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 31.5 minutes a night. Beyond the numbers, though, he’s looked steady, confident, and in control of the team’s offense and his own individual game.

No where is this more clear than in how Russell is attacking the basket in both the half court and in transition. When working in the P&R, Russell is finding ways to get to the rim more often and in the open court he’s being more aggressive in looking to finish which is opening up more passing angles when the defense decides they are going to try and cut him off.

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The Lakers are back on the road today, starting a three game road trip which begins in Chicago. As it will be for the rest of the season, every game on the road will be Kobe’s last trip to that city so expect there to be some sort of acknowledgement from that franchise of Kobe’s looming retirement.

Some of these games will mean more than others, though, and that will especially be true tonight versus the Bulls. This isn’t just because that is the franchise Michael Jordan played for and Kobe’s long quest to try and replicate Michael Jordan’s success, but rather because it will be the last time Kobe faces off against longtime teammate and partner in success Pau Gasol. The two shared good moments just a few weeks ago when the Bulls visited STAPLES Center and again last weekend when both were in Toronto for the All-Star game. But this time is really the finale and that will bring some strong emotions.

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