It started with a simple sentence a couple of decades ago.

“I… have decided to skip college and take my talents to the NBA.”

From there — and after some relatively humble beginnings coming off the bench and missing key shots in the playoffs — Kobe Bryant would go on to be one of the legends of the NBA.

A legendary career that ends Wednesday night at Staples Center.

He’s the only NBA player to have a 20-year career with one team. Kobe’s raw statistics are otherworldly: Five championships, two Finals MVPs, one regular season MVP, third on the all-time career scoring list, 15 All-NBA teams, 18-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, and the list goes on and on.

However, those stats do not define Kobe — we will remember him more as one of the game’s ultimate competitors, a guy as driven as anyone who has ever laced up shoes and walked onto a court. He talked about that and his legacy over the course of this final season, something we captured at PBT.

Kobe talked about a lot of things this season, but it all started with chasing his dream — and inspiring a generation of players to do the same.

“It’s easier said than done because I think we all have dreams,” Kobe said. “But once you go through the process of trying to make those dreams a reality, you hit obstacles. And I think unfortunately because of pressure or anxiety or responsibilities, things, whatever, you kind of give up on those dreams and somewhere along the line you lose that imagination. I think it’s important that you never lose that. You have to keep that. That’s the most important thing. I never gave up my dream.”

 

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