A year without Kobe Bryant

Pablo Lodeiro

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Kobe Bryant left in a way as abrupt as the one he entered the lives of the fans, since it only took a few frames of his game to fall in love with the Lakers guard. Today is fulfilled one year of the sad accident in which the player died, in a fog and in a human way, without heroics. His daughter, Gigi, with her perpetual 13 years, also left. The tragedy shook the NBA and unleashed countless tributes and tears from teammates and rivals. Now that 2020 is over, the league, the major American media and the sport’s fans around the world will honor in the coming days what was undoubtedly one of the best basketball players of all time.

Surely the signing of Pau Gasol by the Lakers in 2008 greatly changed the perception that Spanish fans had of the eternal number 24. “He is the older brother I never had,” the Catalan player, who is one of the protagonists, explained to ESPN on the special program that the network premieres today about Bryant. Gasol, with whom he showed great chemistry, won two NBA championships (2009 and 2010) with the American. «In the first game, in New Jersey, He was talking to me the whole time in Spanish. Whether it was to mark the plays, to give me cover, etc. He wanted to connect with me, to trust him », explains the Spanish in the special.

Although his relationship with the franchise was as turbulent as it was successful, Bryant cannot be scrutinized without the Lakers in the background and vice versa. The Los Angeles team has already announced that it will not make any tribute on the anniversary of his death. Such is the fascination that the franchise feels for its star that prudence and intimacy will reign. The team faced the Cleveland Cavaliers last morning, more than 3,000 kilometers from Los Angeles and, despite the earthly and temporal distance that separates them from the accident, many of the Lakers players still have Bryant in their thoughts. “I know that I still have problems with thatI still can’t believe it, ”explained center Anthony Davis, one of the team’s stars, a few days ago. Marc Gasol had no qualms about assuring that “to this day I have not talked about that.”

Kobe Bryant is the fourth leading scorer in NBA history, with a total of 33,643 points in his 20 seasons in the basketball league. In recent days, it has been several of his rivals, that very special player, the “bulldog”, who have spoken about what it meant to defend the Black Mamba. Matt Barnes, first rival in Orlando and later partner in Los Angeles of Bryant and Gasol, was surprised at the closeness that the player showed in intimacy. “Why doesn’t the rest of the world see how cool you are, you son of a bitch?” Says Barnes who asked Bryan on a bus trip to Phoenix. “I can’t show these sons of bitches that,” the latter replied.

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