I have been doing my best to stay up to date with the NBA playoffs this year. It has been kind of cool to get to know who some of the players are since I did not watch much from the regular season. If there’s one big disappointment, it’s that Kobe Bryant will never return to the playoffs.
As I have gotten older, I have noticed a difference in how I watch the NBA. I used to watch with wonder and amazement, looking up to my favorite players. I would get their jerseys, hang posters on my wall, and mimic their most amazing moves. Nowadays, I watch the game to see how the teams play and what they do to give themselves an advantage.
Kobe’s final game reminded me that I am getting old. Gone are the days where I admire professional basketball players. When I meet an NBA player there is no more nervous anticipation. It’s simply a handshake and “nice to meet you.” I now see pros as people rather than celebrities. When he was torching the Jazz for 60, I didn’t recognize half the players on the floor.
When Kobe was bringing back the Lakers in the final minutes, I couldn’t help but feel like a kid again. But the playoffs have reminded me that I am not the same kid I once was. The way I watch the NBA is much different. The glitz and glamour bother me. I want less show and more basketball. Watching Kobe’s last game made the world realize how great the professional game can be when all eyes are focused on the game rather than what’s going on elsewhere in the arena, or off the court with its’ players.