Yesterday might have been the most historic day of the NBA regular season ever. Not only did the Golden State Warriors finish their quest for a 73-9 record, the first team to ever do so, but it was also Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game ever…and it was one for the ages. Kobe Bryant ended on top.
Kobe’s 60-point showcase was vintage. It felt like watching the young 20-something Kobe again, the one that I watched in some of my first NBA memories. Being drafted in 1996, when I was one, made it so Bryant’s basketball career has eclipsed my entire life. It will be really weird watching an NBA season that Bryant is not in. But this weird phenomenon happened with me and Kobe this finale season…I actually liked him.
My whole life I have been an outspoken Kobe Bryant hater like the ones in that Nike commercial that was everywhere yesterday.
Isn’t it weird how much more we like something when it is ending? That’s how I felt about Kobe Bryant. Once he announced his retirement at the beginning of this season, I all of a sudden found myself loving Kobe Bryant.
It is really easy to celebrate the end of something. It is easy to change our opinion at the end of something. We become fans of something when the threat is over.
One of the reasons I disliked Kobe Bryant so much was because he was really good. I’m a cynic and critic by nature and can never find myself cheering for the best at something unless I have some other emotional attachment to them. Kobe was a threat every night he played for 17/20 of the seasons he played. That’s why I found the “Kobe Farewell Tour” so comical because it felt more of like teams weren’t just saying “Thank you,” but saying, “Thank you for retiring Kobe so you won’t singlehandedly beat us at least twice a season.”
I feel this same way about the tough times in my life. We look back when it’s over and think of how thankful we were for it, but we never are in the moment. Hard seasons of life are what shape us. They are where we learn the most. They also suck a lot!
Seasons of depression, loneliness, apathy, laziness (all the fun words) help us when we are out of them, but are the absolute worst when we are in them. We need to be aware of these seasons and be thankful for them. When we get to the end we need to realize that a difference is coming.
Just like the fact an NBA season without Kobe Bryant is going to be strange, so is the next stage after a season of loneliness, or whatever it may be. Speaking from experience as someone who has battled loneliness my whole life, I know how to be lonely a lot better than I know how to be in community. I never know what to do when community comes my way and I seclude back into my old ways. It is hard to handle new and different, but we need to exert the effort to do so.
Did I compare the end of Kobe Bryant’s career to depression? Yes I did and it’s a little weird, but changes happen in our lives and I’m the worst at prepping for them. We can’t fully prepare for them, but through prayer and scripture reading we can try our best. We never know what this life is going to give us, but we know who gave us life.