Today's made-up Twitter holiday is national #MambaDay, thanks to Nike's brand campaign to
sell shoes say farewell to Kobe Bryant as he plays his final game Wednesday night.
But to Nike's credit, they nailed the sendoff. This musical spot uses a nice blend of comedy and sentiment, which features Kobe Bryant as a maestro in an arena conducting and feeding off the collective vitriol from all his haters - and lovers - alike.
The commercial has fans representing nine teams (the Pistons being one) and a few cameos of former players and coaches - including a Blazers-clad Rasheed Wallace (who has a surprisingly lovely singing voice!).
Even if you thought Kobe Bryant was a sociopathic ball hog, or just a person who you wouldn't want around your daughter, there still was always a begrudging respect for him because of how great he was.
I don't hate Kobe Bryant.
If anything, I should thank him for being a terrible teammate. It's one of the main reasons the Pistons won the championship in 2004.
Not to take anything away from My Favorite Sports Team of All-Time, but the Kobe/Shaq beef finally came to a boil that year. That Lakers' locker room dysfunction has been well documented since the Pistons routed them in '04, but looking at that Hall of Fame roster on paper then, they shouldn't have lost to anyone, let alone some lunch pail guys from Detroit.
Kobe and Shaq were definitely not '00-‘02 Kobe and Shaq in that series, back when they were just crushing souls. That's why Blazers-Rasheed Wallace was featured in the spot. I bet he still has nightmares from Game 7 in 2000 when Kobe and Shaq ripped the hearts out of Rip City with a 15 point fourth quarter comeback.
So as a Pistons fan, yeah - we cool Kobe. You didn't stand in the way of any of our accomplishments. You got your rings. And as someone who was just a little too young to appreciate Michael Jordan's prime, you were fun to watch as one of the fiercest, do-whatever-it-takes competitors of my lifetime. Farewell, Mamba.
Wait, didn't you veto a trade to Detroit in 2007? Dammit Kobe, we could have more banners!
I HATE YOU KOBE BRYANT!