Hoop Diaries with Jeremy Fitch
By Tim Cockes
It truly is a great time to be a basketball fan. This year in the NBA there are two historically great teams, an improved Eastern Conference causing more league parody, and many intriguing stars and storylines. The All-Star game offers fans a chance to view many of the league’s stars in one game. This year the All-Star game displays the leagues old and new talent. There are four first time All-Star selections, including former Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. The young talent in the league is possibly at an all-time high, perhaps caused by the one-and-done college basketball rule. The new talent is ushering in a new area of basketball stars that will captivate fans all over the world. The only downside to all of this young talent is having to say goodbye to many players that have meant so much to fans over the years. For example, this will be the first All-Star game without either Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki since 1997. With players like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce winding down their careers, it’s clear that the NBA as many fans know it is changing fast. One player in particular that is playing in his last All-Star game will have every eye on him; regardless of whether or you think he should be in the game or not, he is why everyone will be watching:
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He has had a legendary career with many accomplishments. One of these accomplishments includes being named an All-Star eighteen times. This speaks to Bryant’s longevity and dominance considering the fact that Stephen Curry has only been to three All-Star games even though it seems that he has been a star for a long time. Although he has picked up his play of late, Kobe had a rough start to the season and many wondered if he deserved to be playing in the All-Star game. Despite what you may think about this issue, the fans voted him into a starting spot and he’ll be playing in the game.
One of the reasons that fans of Kobe love him is his competitive drive. His intensity and desire to win has both captivated fans while also making enemies. This competitive fire will be on display Sunday in Toronto. Kobe will want to prove that he can still play with the players in the game. Whether you love him or hate him, Kobe’s career demands respect from basketball fans. This Sunday Kobe will be going after the best in the league on both ends. The game won’t turn into a three-point shooting contest like it has in recent years. It will be filled with tough defense and hopefully clutch moments from both sides.
Sunday’s game will offer fans another stop on Kobe’s final season tour, and that in itself is a reason to tune in.