There’s not a single player in the NBA who doesn’t know about Kobe Bryant.
There isn’t a single coach in the NBA who doesn’t know about Kobe, either. He’s a one-name, bigger-than-the-game, transcendent figure. How big? Your grandma who doesn’t know anything about sports knows who Kobe is. Everyone does.
At his peak, Kobe had no holes in his game. The best offensive player in the league and the best defensive one, too. At his worst, he was still the talk of the league, ruptured Achilles tendon and all.
Everyone connected in the NBA is affected by the death of Bryant. So, why is the league playing games today? Why hasn’t the league decided to cancel games tomorrow? Huge mistake. Shameful. This isn’t a basketball player. This isn’t even just a Hall of Fame player. This is one of the top players of all time.
I’m not here to suggest the league calls quits on the season, but instead of players crying, instead of them playing today and tomorrow, NBA commissioner Adam Silver should forget about the games today and the six scheduled for tomorrow. It’s ridiculous to play. Postpone them. No one is thinking about basketball. Everyone is thinking about Kobe.
“Good game, tough loss, who cares?” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after San Antonio fell to the Raptors on Sunday afternoon. Yeah, that’s the damn point. No one cares. Longtime coach, league ambassador and announcer Hubie Brown said this was the saddest day in the history of the league.
Why would you have players go through the motions today? Because that’s what they’re doing.
The rest of the season will be a dedication to Bryant. There will be jersey patches worn and tributes made. All appropriate. Hell, the league may retire Kobe’s 24. Understandable. What’s not appropriate or understandable is going through with the games today and Monday.
Listen, we know life goes on. The NBA will, too People die every day doing more important things than putting a ball in a basket. We all get that, but this is a game. It’s not important to play through tragedy. Ultimately it isn’t that important, so naturally playing games today and Monday shouldn’t be a priority.
Of course, there are people who have paid for tickets and are already at the games, at the arena and are ready for basketball, but there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing.
Kobe is owed that.