It seems almost criminal to write anything NBA related considering the news that broke on Sunday of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death.
The LA Lakers legend was one of five
passengers in a helicopter crash which killed everyone on board. Bryant played
20 seasons, all with the Lakers, winning five NBA titles and becoming the
fourth highest scorer in NBA history.
Just a day before his death, LeBron James passed him for third place in career points, in what has now been one of the most historic 24 hours in NBA history.
So, to honor Kobe, for this week’s MOTW
predictions, I’m going to single out some of the best examples of Mamba
Mentality from Week 14 of the NBA season.
LeBron James, LA Lakers
MOVING ON UP: LeBron passed Kobe on the all-time scoring list
Mentioned above, Byrant was already in everyone’s mind as James moved past the legend into third place in all-time scoring. Against the 76ers, though the Lakers lost, James scored 33,644th point to a rousing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd.
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LeBron did all of this while wearing shoes
with the message ‘Mamba 4 Life’ written on the heel. It is an image and sign of
respect that will be remembered for years to come.
Vince Carter, Atlanta Hawks
BIRTHDAY: Carter turned 43 this week
While Carter hasn’t done much to write home about on the court, in terms of stat sheet production at least, he celebrated his 43rd birthday on the 26. The date can now be used to celebrate two legends of the game.
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Carter is playing in his 22nd NBA season and, like Kobe, had a truly enormous impact on a city and basketball
culture. Carter’s impact on Toronto and the NBA will be remembered forever and
deserves a MOTW mention.
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
CAREER FIRST: Kawhi notched his first career triple-double
With everything that Leonard has accomplished in his NBA career, and all the applause he has received, he surprised many by achieving a career first this week: a triple-double.
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With 33 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against
the Miami Heat he accomplished the feat, but his response was unapologetically
professional. In true Mamba Mentality he was all about his game, improving, and
getting a W for his team.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
BUCKETS: Lillard was on a mission against the Warriors
If work ethic isn’t what you remember Kobe
for, it could be scoring. Few players have ever been able to score at will like
Kobe, and Dame did his best impression against the Golden State Warriors on MLK
The point guard dropped a career high 61 points as he toyed with the Warriors. He had a career-high 11 made three pointers and added 10 rebounds and seven assists.
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Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
RIP Kobe Bryant. Mamba 4 Life.