In a long cold December night… in the last two days before the year 2015 ends, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are playing against the Boston Celtics. The sold-out crowd came early, as they prepare to cheer Kobe on his last Celtic game. This night is not just about Boston, this is a tribute to the player who gave them back the bitter-sweet rivalry between them and the Lakers that started decades back with Wilt and Russell then Bird and Magic. They cheered, laugh and made fun of Kobe when the Lakers lost to them in the NBA finals in game 6 in 2008. They cried and cursed Kobe when the Lakers got their revenged 2 years later. It was a see-saw battle of emotions and it was one helluva ride.
As the final pit stop has just arrived as Kobe’s one last journey towards basketball finally ends, Boston chanted “Kobe, Kobe… Kobe” as the adoring crowd took to the stands in deafening fashion. When Bryant was announced for the starting lineups and touched his chest before waving to the fans.
This was Kobe’s simple gesture of appreciation and saying goodbye to the people who gave him his greatest victories and humbling defeats.
The night ended with Boston trying to catch up to a 14 point deficit (83-69) and came out just a point away to tie the ball game on a 21-4 run. When the Celtics are threatening to pull over, Kobe once again put on a double-double performance including a “Stephen Curry” ranged three that finally gave the Lakers the victory. As the final buzzer ended, Kobe waved to the crowd for one last time as he walked down the runway all the way to the locker room. “Kobe, Kobe… Kobe” as the chants slowly diminished when Kobe was out of sight.
Kobe and the Lakers won and got his last victory with the Boston Celtics. For one game in the Garden, everyone stood up and appreciated him. This was Kobe’s night and he was the final piece to the closing chapter of the rivalry.
Kobe has made his peace…
And so is Boston.