COMMENTARY | In the NBA, superstars come and go, but legends transcend the sport and live on forever in the annals of history.
Kobe Bean Bryant is one such legend as a lifelong member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The milestone he reached by becoming the youngest player to ever score 30,000 points was a welcome moment for his teammates, the coaching staff and a fan base that have all dealt with the ramifications of a grossly underachieving 2012-13 season.
It's well-documented what the Lakers have been through. Excitement gripped the city when Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined forces with Bryant to form another super team on paper. All of that giddy anticipation turned to angst during an 0-8 preseason, and outright panic when the team started 1-4 and fired head coach Mike Brown
The front office then hired Mike D'Antoni in bizarre fashion and still has not seen results. Fans are clamoring for everyone not named Dwight Howard to be traded, and there's virtually no patience in Hollywood for the Lakers to get back on script.
It's standard Lakers drama, and all part of NBA basketball in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
But on Wednesday night, Bryant transcended it all and did so against the team that traded him to the Lakers on draft day. His team picked him up, and the Lakers capped of the evening with a 103-87 win.
Granted, defeating one of the bottom-feeders of the NBA is what this star-studded team is supposed to do, even on the road and without Pau Gasol and Nash, but the Lakers have done just about everything except for what's expected of them to this point. A poor night or another lackluster showing could have badly soured the day and potentially the entire road trip.
Instead, the Lakers fixed some of their biggest issues on defense and managed to take care of the basketball. They cut their turnovers nearly in half with respect to their average (16.4) by committing just nine. Inspired play set the stage for the night to be about what it should have been -- a brief moment during a long grind of a season to reflect upon how special of a player the game of basketball has in Bryant.
The Lakers have a lot of work to do, but at least for the time being, they can enjoy the moment along with their most decorated teammate. These days don't come along too often.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He also contributes to SB nation and Examiner.com and is the Editor of Sports Out West.
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