Kobe Bryant passes away, it’s time for Lakers Nation to unite eras

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Kobe Bryant
Mandatory Credit: Andrew Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images /

Kobe Bryant started the Kobe/Shaq dynasty and completed the most famous alley-oop in playoff history!

This game was supposed to be over. The Portland Trail Blazers were killing the Los Angeles Lakers going into the 4th quarter by 15 points. Most NBA fans talk about who was the deadlier Kobe as opposed to the number on his jersey. People rarely discuss the difference of the bald Kobe to the one with the afro.

This was the player with the afro. Kobe Bryant saved the season, probably some players on the roster and on the coaching staff with an iconic 25 point, 11 rebound and seven assist performance that started a three-year title run with a dominance that hasn’t been seen before or since.

Look, bring up the Warriors if you like, but the combination of Kobe playing seamlessly with Shaquille O’Neal could not be stopped. Shaq was the modern-day Wilt. Kobe was the next Jordan.

People forget O’Neal wasn’t having the greatest game scoring 18 points with nine rebounds. It was Kobe Bryant breaking down the defense and spearheading that amazing comeback. The Lakers erased that 15-point lead in the blink of an eye, on the biggest stage, with everything on the line.

The alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal will live forever. It is a flat guarantee that this play will be in the opens for playoff games and NBA Finals as long as the NBA is in the business of basketball. If this play doesn’t give you chills, you don’t understand basketball, competition or Kobe Bryant.

Noe one can talk about Kobe’s exploits without the 81 game. Shaquille O’Neal was the modern-day Wilt. In this game, Kobe was about as close to Wilt as anyone in a basketball contest.