By Joe Giordano || Assistant Sports Editor
For even the most casual NBA fan, Wednesday, April 13, 2016 was a historic night that will not be soon forgotten. It is not very often that an iconic career comes to an end or that a 20-year record many people deemed to be unbreakable is finally broken. However, Wednesday provided both of those things. After a legendary 20-year career, Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant called an end to a career with a remarkable performance, while the Golden State Warriors officially broke the record for the best all-time NBA time record. While both were being played during the same time, each person tuning into those games was witnessing history.
For over 20 years, if someone asked you what the single greatest basketball team was, the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls immediately came to mind. The team was able to amass an incredible 72-10 record during the regular season while winning four championship titles in six seasons. The team consisted of a player you may know by the name of Michael Jordan, and was anchored by stars including Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. For more than 20 years, the record this team had achieved was deemed one of the most unbreakable in sports, but a certain team from Oakland looked to prove everyone wrong.
When comparing the Bulls team with this year’s Warriors team, there are not many distinguishable comparisons. The only one I can think of is that the current head coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr, just happened to be the point guard during the 1995-1996 title run. This Warriors team didn’t have the greatest basketball player that ever lived– their superstar Steph Curry, is a 6’3” point guard from Davidson College who was told he was too small to play point guard. They didn’t have future hall of famers like Pippen, rather they had great role players like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green who always stepped up when Curry couldn’t get going. This team on paper doesn’t stand out like the Bulls team. However, sometimes teamwork and a will to win means more than raw talent. This is what the Warriors did: they created a team first mentality and it led them to breaking one of the supposed “most unbreakable” records in all of sports.
If you were being greedy and thought watching a 20-year record be broken wasn’t special enough, then you could change the channel and watch NBA legend Kobe Bryant play in his final game. After 20 years in the league, Kobe finally decided earlier on in the year that this would be his final game in the purple and gold. During his incredible career, Kobe managed to become the third highest scorer in NBA history with a remarkable 33,643 points. He also managed to win five championships, win an MVP in 2008, was an 18-time all-star, scored 81 points in a single game, and was named to the NBA’s first team 11 times. While all of these accolades speak for themselves, many expected Kobe’s final game to be a novelty. They expected him to play limited minutes and just able to soak in the scene at the Staples Center in his final basketball game of his life. But boy did Kobe have one last treat for all of us.
Kobe scored an incredible 60 points while also grabbing nine rebounds as his team managed to win 101-96 versus the Utah Jazz. Because Kobe had only been averaging 17 points a game, if anyone had told you that Kobe would get to 60 you would’ve thought they were crazy. But as many have said over the years, “that’s just Kobe being Kobe”.
Wednesday had a little bit of everything for basketball fans. If you love team basketball, the Warriors put on a teamwork clinic as they reached their 73rd win, and if you like historic performances, Kobe scored 60 points in his final game. This was a great lead into the NBA playoffs and has left many basketball fans begging for more.
Sophomore Joe Giordano is the Assistant Sports Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.