Growing up it was a privilege to watch Kobe Bryant play basketball. He made it look so easy, with his deadly fade away or a clutch three with seconds left in the game. His drives through the lanes were flawless and followed by an acrobatic layup was the one-two punch. I would spend hours outside trying to replicate his shot until my arms fell off, or sitting in my room spit shinning my Kobe “Crazy Eights.” Kids today do not know what they missed, as players like him are rare. A high school draft pick, such a gamble, yet he turned out to be one of the greatest to play the game. Kobe was drafted out of Lower Merion, not to far from Eastern. Sure, one can say “What about LeBron?” But can you honestly say LeBron plays anything like Kobe. It is two different styles of playing. Maybe one can say Steph Curry is the NBA’s current Kobe Bryant or maybe he’s not. They could watch all of highlights or game footage on YouTube, but they will never experience the feeling of suspense wondering, “What will the black mamba do today?” I remember the day Kobe dropped 81 points against the Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. He made history that day as he moved into second on the all-time single game-scoring leader. By the way, if you are not convinced about how rare of a player he is look at his playoff stats. There is certainly enough said when one looks at his playoff record and stats. The Philadelphia native is a five-time champion and a MVP. This man is no doubt a first ballot Hall of Famer. He influenced my love for basketball, (well not my game because I have no coordination) and how I interpret the game. At the 2016 All-Star game Kobe received a standing ovation as he stepped on to the court. Also, even at his old age and a game such as the All-Star game, he was well-respected, as he should. Kobe enjoy the Jordans Michael gifted you and enjoy retirement, as we will all miss you.