‘Took These Days For Granted’: Former Laker J.R Smith Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant

January 24, 2021 7:00 pm

Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA. Throughout his 20-year career in the NBA, Kobe continuously put in miraculous performances and won multiple championships. Kobe was an inspiration to so many players during his career as he was the face of the NBA in the post-Jordan era of basketball.

J.R Smith remembers Kobe Bryant

Former NBA champion J.R Smith took to Instagram to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant. He posted a picture of the two of them during the 2009 Western Conference Finals and wrote about how he took his time playing against Kobe Bryant for granted. He revealed how much he missed facing off against the ‘Black Mamba’

He said, “Took these days for granted. Thought i was really going to play against you forever. Appreciate the competitive nature you brought out in me, sh*t can’t lie i ain’t know i had some of this shit till you had out them a** whoopings and I had to figure it out. The game misses your avatar but we all know your soul is all around it. Miss you.”

Black Mamba lives on forever

Kobe was one of the most recognizable stars in the history of basketball. After the retirement of Michael Jordan, Kobe became the franchise star of the NBA. Under Jordan’s old coach Phil Jackson, he and Shaquille O’Neal led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships.

However, the departure of Shaq put Bryant under immense pressure, as he was now the only star of the team. Between 2004 to 2008, the Lakers struggled in the NBA. But that changed when Kobe got some help in the form of Pau Gasol. In 2008, Kobe won his first MVP title, as the Lakers went to the NBA Finals.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 26: Laker’s Kobe Bryant ,24, celebrates a three pointer in the fourth quarter as the Lakers beat the Nuggets 122-107 during a first round playoff basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers April 23. 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Read More: Shaquille O’Neal Describes What Helped Him Get Past the Tragedy of Losing Kobe Bryant

Between 2008 to 2010, the Lakers went to three NBA Finals and won two back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. For his performances in the finals, Bryant was named the Finals MVP. Kobe eventually called time on his legendary career in 2016, after 20 years of playing in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant’s legacy in the NBA is undeniable. He is considered the greatest LA Laker in history, and he has inspired many players of the current generation that still play in the NBA today.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports. He has an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on International Relations. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune podcast until he graduated. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now. He staunchly believes that Derrick Rose, his favorite player, would be a Top-3 player today had he not gotten injured.

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