Hello everyone, and welcome to our latest edition of SB Nation NBA Reacts, where data is aggregated to find out how fans feel about their favorite teams. First, let’s go over the Washington Wizards’ results, and from there we will get to our national question.
Wizards fan confidence increases, but remains very low
Only 23 percent of our respondents expressed confidence in the Wizards’ direction. That’s an increase from 13 percent last week, but it’s still really bad.
Perhaps confidence increased simply because the team is playing basketball again. But ... they went 0-3 in their road trip, though that’s largely because six players are officially under coronavirus protocols.
National Topic: Our thoughts on Kobe Bryant
Last Tuesday was the first anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death. It’s still surreal because he was just 41 when he passed away. The national question wasn’t really a question. Rather, it was for respondents to give their lasting memory of the NBA legend. Here were some of the things that our community noted.
Bryant’s 81 point game vs. the Toronto Raptors
On Jan. 22, 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against the Raptors while shooting 28-of-46 from the field, including 7-of-13 from the three-point line. What made this game notable was that the Lakers won 122-104, but wouldn’t have won without Bryant’s heroics. None of the other starters scored more than 13 points. There were only five total points from the bench. Finally, Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown shot a collective 2-of-12 from the field which made this game that much more noteworthy. Multiple people in our community noted this.
The feud with Shaquille O’Neal, and how young Kobe did his part to work through for Lakers success
While Bryant formed one of the best duos of all-time with Hall-of-Fame center Shaquille O’Neal where they won three NBA championships, they were two personalities that often clashed. Unfortunately, some of their conflicts were out in the open when the team had a rough start in the 2002-03 season and in the 2003-04 season when Bryant was accused of sexual assault in Colorado, though those charges were dropped and reached a settlement with the alleged accuser.
Ultimately, O’Neal left the Lakers for the Miami Heat in 2004 and decided to build around Bryant. I could go on and one about this duo and their conflicts, but this YouTube video above gives a good summary on it.
Also, check out this interview below.
Bryant won an Academy Award for “Dear Basketball”
Bryant wrote a poem toward the end of his career on The Players’ Tribune in 2015. It was set to a musical score by John Williams and an animation by Glen Keane which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. After his career ended, Bryant was becoming a content producer in his own right, founding Granity Studios.
Being a Dad
Bryant was the father of four girls. His second daughter, Gianna passed away with him because they were going to a basketball game which he coached. Though some fans of his wanted him to be a father to a son who could “carry the legacy,” he was more than happy with Gianna being the one to do just that on the court.
Along the way, he brought Gigi’s team to meet the Phoenix Mercury,
... and Gigi was also in attendance with Dad, not just to watch basketball games.
But he would break down games with her as well.
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