2016 brought a lot of memories for Lakers’ fans. Mostly bad ones. The losses piled up and as the 2015-16 season wore on fans became more interested in whether the team would keep their top-3 protected draft pick than anything that happened on the court. Game after game many fans either actively cheered for losses or became so apathetic about the on-court results being a fan felt like work.
Of course, not the entire year was bad. The team did keep their draft pick. The team also made a coaching change and hired Luke Walton. The start of this season also offered some truly genuine feel good moments as the team shot out to a 9-7 start by playing a fun brand of basketball that reminded us all of what it was like to enjoy watching the Lakers play basketball.
But all the good moments were just about ushering in change and the resulting bump in play under the new regime. In fact, I would argue none of those things come close to the feeling we all had on the final day of this past season when Kobe Byrant rode off into the sunset in the most Kobe Bryant way imaginable.
By scoring 60 points in his final career game, Kobe — always myth builder — cemented his legendary status. It didn’t matter that he shot nearly every time down the floor. It didn’t matter that he could barely run by the time the game was over. In fact, those things only add more of an aura to the night. Only Kobe could have done that.
So, as we say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 and as we deal with more rough times (the Lakers have fallen off their early season pace), I thought it would be nice to remember one of the best nights of the year for Lakers’ fans. Happy New Year, everyone. Here’s hoping we get more feel good moments in 2017 than we did this past year.