The devastating news of Kobe Bryant’s death will surely dominate sports headlines for the foreseeable future, as the NBA family and their legion of worldwide fans mourn the loss of one of the greatest players in league history.
(For what it’s worth, I have Kobe down as the second-best 2-guard of all time, trailing only Michael Jordan.)
As part of this grieving period, sports-media consumers will be inundated with hundreds of moving tributes celebrating the Lakers legend, who collected five world championships (2000-02, 2009-10) and one NBA MVP award over 20 NBA seasons, while also ranking fourth in all-time scoring (33,643 points) and third in career field goals — 26,200 makes, just ahead of Jordan and LeBron James.
BATSBY Sports will dive into the Kobe-related tributes later in the week; but for now, we’d like to accomplish two things during this harrowing time:
a) Express our deepest and most sincere condolences to the Bryant family, along with the other people who perished in this horrific accident.
(According to Los Angeles fire officials, nine people were in the helicopter that crashed at the base of a mountain on Sunday morning. There were no survivors.)
b) Offer an unsolicited and perhaps off-the-wall concept pitch to the NBA, as the league finalizes preparations for All-Star Weekend (Feb. 14-16):
For the All-Star Game on that Sunday night (Feb. 16), instead of the East and West players donning customized uniforms for the event, both squads would be decked out in Kobe/Lakers jerseys — sporting the following layout:
EAST TEAM (CAPTAIN: GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO)
STARTERS: Gold Kobe-Lakers jerseys … adorned with the number ‘8’ and ‘BRYANT’ on the back
RESERVES: Gold Kobe-Lakers jerseys … with the number ’24’ and ‘BRYANT’ on the back
WEST TEAM (CAPTAIN: LEBRON JAMES)
STARTERS: Purple Kobe-Lakers jerseys … adorned with the number ‘8’ and ‘BRYANT’ on the back
RESERVES: Purple Kobe-Lakers jerseys … with the number ’24’ and ‘BRYANT’ on the back
In our mind, this would be a phenomenal tribute to the late Bryant, who inspired millions of athletes and fans with his deft shooting touch, killer instinct during tense moments, insatiable thirst for winning championships and post-retirement grace off the court.