It has been a couple of days since former Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant passed away tragically alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. The NBA has grieved this devastating news with special tributes to one of the greatest players to play the game in shapes and forms. However, there is one unique way that the league has incredibly honored Bryant through several notable players in a manner that is only suiting.
It has been a difficult adjustment period to get used to the reality that Bryant is abruptly gone at age 41. He had a great deal of impact and influence on many in and around the world of sports from athletes, coaches to fans
and influence on many in and around the world of sports from athletes, coaches to fans
The last couple of days have seen teams and players around the league honoring Bryant in various ways such as 24-second shot clock violations, eight-second backcourt violations, and pregame moments of silence lasting 24 seconds. Many players spewed their admiration, love, and support towards Bryant and his grieving family.
Bryant‘s impact and connection to the league and it’s players were felt throughout the last couple of days. He is one of the greatest players to play the game that had an influence and respect that went far beyond any basketball court. It’s hard to truly quantify what he has meant to the game and the total impact that has had and will continue to have on the league.
Trae Young and Devin Booker’s Kobe coincidence
In their brief NBA careers, the impact that Kobe Bryant has had on both first-time All-Star point guard Trae Young and star guard Devin Booker has been glaringly obvious.
In their first game since the tragedy, Young and Booker both put up impressive outings with heavy hearts. The Atlanta Hawks guard was the driving force that pushed his team past the Washington Wizards behind 45 points on 13-of-24 shooting from the floor. Although the Phoenix Suns fell short against the Memphis Grizzlies, Booker dropped a game-high 36 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field.
These two young stars’ performances had many connections to their mentor. They both shot 24 field goals while combining for 81 points and had 24 made attempts together. It’s hard to look past that as being a coincidence as Bryant was a huge inspiration for both players to push their way forward on the court on Monday night.
Kobe Bryant fittingly honored
It went far beyond just Young and Booker, both having some tremendous connections to Bryant statistically in some form or fashion.
It saw the two joined by the likes of Luka Doncic, Buddy Hield, and Kemba Walker all remarkably take 24 shot attempts behind big performances in their first game after Bryant’s passing. Hield’s outing sticks out as he has quickly notably drawn a great deal of affinity for the former Lakers star even before he entered the league.
His 42-point outburst on Tuesday night fueled an incredible 17-point comeback late in the fourth quarter. It was a career-best outing that Hield voiced that Bryant had a significant impact in shaping the player he has become. These players have formed a great deal of respect for Bryant and drawn motivation from his play and mentality.
Some of Kobe Bryant’s best performances
Since we are on the subject of scoring, Bryant did a whole lot of that during his illustrious carer that saw him put forth some memorable performances along the way.
He has drawn most notoriety in that regard with an 81-point outburst against the Toronto Raptors, which is still the second-highest scoring performance in a single game. The Lakers needed every single one of those points to overcome a double-digit deficit while he shot an incredibly efficient 60.2% from the floor (28-of-46) with 7 three-pointers and 18-of-20 from the free-throw line.
Another one of Bryant’s most memorable outings came with his 61 points at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. It had sent the all-time record for most points at the arena, which had many memorable moments such as his shot at the free-throw line that showed off his impeccable footwork to free himself up for an open shot.
Lastly, Bryant closed out his career in the only way he knew how, as he put 60 points in his final performance, which is the highest point total for any player in their last game. He’s also the oldest to score that many points in a single game; it further underlined the incredible talent he was even at the end of his illustrious career.
Many, many outings can be pinpointed that showed his greatness on the basketball court. These are just a few that stand out, and the fact that these performances from several star players in today’s game have connections to Bryant in some sort of way, it’s not just coincidence, its fate.