He was the best of enemies. Of Kobe Bryant’s 13 career playoff games of 40 points or more, four of them came against the Nuggets, more than any other NBA franchise. The man tortured us for fun.
The Black Mamba went 12-5 against Denver in the postseason. 2008. 2009. 2012. We always had dreams. Kobe always had the last laugh.
So why are we crying?
“I think everybody in here, when we heard it, we didn’t really feel like playing basketball at the time,” said Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., who was born in the 1998, when Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning, was finishing the second of his 20 NBA seasons.
“Your parents will tell you, ‘I remember where I was when John F. Kennedy got shot, when Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) got shot,’” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “Our players will always remember this day because of that news, and losing somebody like that way before we should’ve lost him.”
They held a moment of silence Sunday afternoon at the Pepsi Center, before the Nuggets beat the Rockets 117-110, a game played with spinning heads and broken hearts.
A black-and-white photo of Bryant flashed on the scoreboard, and then a funny thing happened: A building that booed him as No. 8, that loathed him as No. 24, began to chant his name in unison.