Chris: I'll remember how Kobe's summer holiday in 2003, also known as "National Lampoon's Colorado Vacation," was covered by ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, Fox Sports, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, Court TV, TNT, MTV and Food Network. My only question is did Kobe bring home a magnet or coffee mug as a souvenir.
Brad: I'll remember when Kobe's career was somewhat stained when he got accused of sexual assault back in 2003. He was such a squeaky clean player, and getting accused of rape was a big turning point in his life.
Joe: I'll remember Kobe for the sordid affair and sexual assault trial he went through. He and wife Vanessa had split up their assets, even though there was no prenuptial agreement. Fortunately, they were able to work things out, go on to have two children and make their marriage work. Maybe Kobe's best career move.
Chris: I'll remember a closeup of Kobe sitting on the bench near the end of Game 6 of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals against the Spurs. He had either been chopping onions or had hurt feelings that his team was about to get knocked out of the playoffs.
Brad: I'll remember when Kobe played MJ for the final time and dropped 40 points, it was the start of an era.
Joe: I'll remember Kobe as a great player who wanted the ball when the game was on the line. He would rise to the occasion, drive, pull up and hit his famous jump shot like a true champion.
Chris: I'll remember Kobe often having a shooting percentage that seemed more like a batting average and thinking how any living organism capable of shooting a basketball could score a lot of points, had they been allowed to shoot 50 times a game. I could average 30, a chimpanzee could average 30, and if tanks of water were allowed on basketball courts, a dolphin could average 90.
Brad: I'll remember when Kobe dropped 81 points against the Raptors!
Joe: I'll remember Kobe for his career statistics:
- 18-time All Star
- 15-time member of the All NBA Team
- 12-time member of the All Defensive Team
- Led the NBA in scoring two seasons
- Ranks third on both the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring.
- NBA record for the most seasons with an NBA team, 20 with the Lakers.
Chris: I'll remember Kobe's first All-Star Game in 1998, when he was voted in as a starter at age 19, even though he was not a starter for the Lakers. This was followed by him taking the second most shots of any player during the game and telling 34-year-old Karl Malone to get out of his way, as Malone was attempting to set a pick for Bryant. I can only imagine if Karl and Kobe lived together. Kobe would not do his share of the chores, instead telling Malone what to do, including, "I'm not getting up. You go check the mail. You're the Mailman."
Brad: I'll remember the heartfelt poem that Kobe wrote announcing his retirement. Especially the lines "My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, But my body knows it's time to say goodbye."
Joe: I'll remember Kobe for the way he went out, scoring 60 points against a superior team.
Chris: I'll remember Kobe refusing to shoot during some games, including playoff games, intent on proving a point to those who said he shot too much. Personally, I am grateful for those games, which all resulted in Laker losses. I remember Bryant saying in 2007 that he would rather play on Pluto than to stay with the Lakers. And as much I don't want to remember it, I cannot erase images of Kobe's 2010 all-white photoshoot for the "Los Angeles Times Magazine."
Brad: I'll remember when Kobe was lined up on the free-throw line and reached 60 points in his final game. A fitting end for such a basketball icon.