Kobe Bryant was the Michael Jordan for the youngsters who entered the league in the 2000’s – Shaun Livingston was no different
When Shaun Livingston joined the Clippers as a rookie in 2004, the Lakers were coming off a three peat and just traded away Shaquille O’Neal. That did not make them instantly bad, because they had a rampant Kobe Bryant. Sporting the number 8 on his back, Kobe literally carried his teammates to another final, losing out to the Detroit Pistons.
The Lakers were slightly ragged because of their main center leaving, and Kobe’s teammates now being Smush Parker and Kwame Brown. That did not deter the purple and gold legend, absolutely going off against Livingston and the Clippers. While he may have started slow, only making 2 of his 12 shots in the first half, he scored his 50 piece overall in the game.
the best of his shots came in the 4th quarter, and the last bucket of the game, putting the Lakers up by 1, scoring over 3 defenders. One of them happened to be rookie Shaun, getting his welcome to the NBA moment right then and there. A dagger through the heart of the Clippers fans in their “home” game (like there could ever be one!). The floor may say Clippers, but the stands dont ever reflect their colors.
Kobe Bryant was definitely trying to one up MJ in everything – be it on the floor, or jersey numbers
Kobe had 2 hall of fame careers for each of his numbers 8 and 24. While 24 may have been the more recent and the one that people remember, 8 was an athletic freak. He could hit a 30 foot three pointer with the same ease as dunking on 4 players at once.
Kobe and Shaq were the best duo the modern Lakers have seen. Two of the most dominant characters of all time in the same team does mean championships. They were the 2000’s answer to Scottie and MJ. While Kobe is definitely not 6-0, 5-2 in the finals is not a laughing matter by any means. Kobe may not accept that switching to 24 was to be one above Jordan, every fan definitely thought of that reasoning at some point.
His fights on the floor with MJ was definitely trying to show the world that Kobe Bryant was no one to be trifled with. He was out there to prove whatever his airness could do, Kobe could do just as well or better. That kind of mentality is unmatched, and we may never get to see anything like that ever again. Mamba mentality indeed.
Also Read: “Michael Jordan was so confident in himself, he was smoking a victory cigar pre game!” – Chris Webber recollects the time when the Bulls legend was seen being supremely confident in his abilities