NBA Roundup: 3 January takeaways, 3 February predictions

NBA Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis and LeBron James (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NBA Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis and LeBron James (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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NBA Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Exploring the biggest NBA storylines from January, what to expect in February, and of course, remembering Kobe Bryant in our monthly roundup

It seems like everyone is starting to get back to a sense of normalcy, which great, but doing an NBA monthly recap without including the saddest day in the history of the sport just wouldn’t be right. So here it goes.

My relationship with Kobe, if you can even call it that, was just like 99.9 percent of you. He didn’t know me and I didn’t know him. I wasn’t a Los Angeles Lakers fan either, and most nights I was probably rooting against him.

But Kobe always felt bigger than the Lakers brand on the front of his jersey and at times even bigger than basketball as a whole. That’s why when he played, everyone watched. When he spoke, everyone listened. And when he tragically passed away with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other victims, everyone felt it.

On the court, he was one of the strongest forces of will and determination that the game will ever see. He never saw a shot he didn’t like and basketball’s biggest stages were never too big for him.

Part of being one of the strongest forces of will means that he always viewed himself as an equal with the greats of the game. And in his relentless chase to be just like MJ, he inspired a new generation of kids to be just like Kobe. He left the game in a better place than he found it, and his basketball legacy is carried on by all the players that he inspired along the way.

His more important legacy is that of a father – and by all accounts a damn good one. That legacy is in good hands with his girls who will no doubt do great things someday – it’s in their genes.

As a fan, it’s sad that we’ll never get to hear his Hall of Fame speech. We’ll never get to see him old and grey on TV telling “back in my day” stories. And we’ll never get to see him sitting courtside as the proud dad during Gianna’s first WNBA game. But it goes without saying that all of that pales in comparison to the unimaginable loss that the families of all nine victims have gone through this week.

So here’s to Kobe, Gianna, and all the victims.

Here’s to Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, Capri, and the families of all the victims.

And here’s to still saying “Kobe” every time you shoot a crumpled up piece of paper into the trash.