Well, Kobe #24 Finally decided to retire. That’s sad…..
I’ll always remember in 1996 when I was at the Universal City Walk with a boyfriend and my brother. Both my boyfriend at the time and my brother made a beeline for a very tall African American guy standing off to the side bouncing a basket ball with a few buddies.
I watched in the distance as they high fived the rather tall basket ball guy. They sat and chit chatted with him. Both my brother and former boyfriend seemed awe struck for some reason.
When they finally came back over to me smiling ear to ear, I asked them: “Who was that!”
They both looked at me like I was crazy and said in unison: “That’s Kobe Bryant, he’s going to be the best basket ball player ever for the Lakers!”
Kobe had just been traded by the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Vlade Divak, to the Los Angeles Lakers. I for one was glad to see Vlade go! He looked smelly. One thing was for sure about Kobe, he had that star quality. And this was before he acquired the name “Black Mamba!”
We loved Kobe as a family not because he was tall, handsome, or amazing at basketball. We loved him because he spoke Italian! That’s right! I’m Italian, and Kobe grew up in Italy and spoke beautiful Italian. And we watched Laker games and followed #24 specifically for that reason! It was just like watching a member of the family play basketball.
When he married his seventeen year old bride, although controversial, we were still on his side.
And when his wife gave birth, my friend was at her side. I was in another wing of the hospital. Both my friend and I worked as registry nurses…. basically hospital hoping. On the day that Kobe’s first daughter was born, both my friend and I were working at Hoag Hospital. My friend was chosen to be the post partum nurse, only because she was the registry nurse. If there were huge complaints coming from Kobe’s baby mama, no staff nurses would take the fall. Registry nurses could be easily made to not come back to the hospital. And the hospital could always say: well it was not one of our nurses!
My friend was a trooper and did her best. She’s a great nurse. Hoag is an amazing hospital but it’s not the Ritz, no hospital is. Someone forgot to tell Kobe’s baby mama that.
Kobe led the team through many victories over the next twenty years. A great role model. To the point that one of my nursing students created a presentation for a team building exercise, showcasing the relationship he had with Shaq. She outlined the fact that when they were best buddies, the team won many victories. But when they became enemies, they failed. It was one of the best presentations on team building I had ever seen, and outlines perfectly what can happen on a hospital unit when people get along and when they don’t.
Let’s not forget the cheating drama. Where everyone stood by him and cried when he confessed in front of the media. I was sad and my heart ached. If twitter had been born, I’m not so sure it people would have cried. But hey, he’s a baller! These days it’s normal, just watch Basketball Wives!
And his many injuries where he still came back to play over and over again.
My brother and ex boyfriend were intuitive to predict Kobe’s greatness! They should have put some money on it. Twenty years goes so fast!
Arrevederci Kobi #24! May we meet again at some super sized outdoor mall, somewhere in the world!