The Clippers won a basketball game yesterday. In fact, they won three out of their four games this week. Kawhi extended his 30+ point scoring run to eight straight games, including his first career triple double. Paul George has been out injured for nine consecutive games, his second longest stretch of games missed this season. How much does any of that matter right now? In reality, it seems like a distant memory despite happening all within the last seven days. Anything that took place more than 24 hours ago feels like a different lifetime. On the morning of January 26, 2020, a tragic accident took place that tore at the hearts and minds of players, coaches, fans, people, and anyone that had ever tossed a piece of trash away while saying the iconic name. Kobe.
In a horrific accident that took place around 10 am that Sunday morning, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter and several other passengers, fell to their deaths in a helicopter accident. The world stood still. At least for me it did. Basketball has always been the biggest part of my life outside of family, as I’m sure it has been for many of you. The news shocked me to my core. It made me stop and look around at life a little differently. Players lost a friend. Basketball lost a legend. Fans lost a real life super hero. But more important than any of that, families lost loved ones. The past day or so has been full of memories, fearful possibilities, and shared “I love you”s.
Clippers, Lakers, Los Angeles Love
Being a Clippers fan likely means you hated facing Kobe’s Lakers. As a relatively new fan, I was only on board the rivalry after Kobe’s final title in 2010. That didn’t meant I hated when he beat the Clippers any less though. Kobe was one of those players that earned the utmost respect from everyone he met. Players, coaches, and fans alike only spoke highly of his game, his work ethic, and his personality. His Mamba Mentality inspired people to do better. To be better.
The inspiration is not just for those who play basketball. It’s not even for those who play sports. The Mamba Mentality as about the will and drive to push yourself to be the best at what you do and outwork anything that stands in your way. This mentality can, and does, apply to every aspect of life. Kobe always seemed larger than life on the court, but what’s most impressive is his truly heroic presence off the court.
Clippers vs Lakers
On Tuesday, January 28th, the Clippers are set to play a game in their home arena on an opponent’s court. The Lakers’ first game since the tragic accident took their most beloved legend will be against their hometown rival L.A. Clippers. Kawhi Leonard will come into the game hotter than anyone in the NBA right now. He will be looking to extend his eight game streak of 30 or more points. Paul George has the potential to return from injury for the first time in nine games. Patrick Beverley could return after missing the teams’ last three games.
However, nobody’s eyes will be on the Clippers Tuesday night. Not even the fans that love to hate “the other LA team.” Tuesday will be about the Lakers, Los Angeles, basketball, and loved ones. It’s a tragedy that it takes the death of an icon to bring people together the way it does, but there’s no doubt that our hearts and minds will be with #8 and #24 on Tuesday night.
I may be a Clippers fan, but I look forward to watching six Lakers take the floor for this game, because you know the starting five won’t be out there alone.
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