April 13


April 13 will no doubt live on in the minds of columnists, bloggers, and editors as one of the darkest days in the history of sports writing. They had finally been exposed. Blank pages and empty screens tempted them, endlessly and mockingly. The ineffable nature of the night had rendered them utterly unqualified for the task at hand.

Words had finally let them down.

One of the greatest basketball players — no, athletes — in history, finally, indelibly, and indisputably tattooed his name into the annals of sporting lore. None of us actually saw this coming, as we prepared instead for the emotional farewell into a microphone after the final whistle.

Lesson learned: never doubt a man who over 20 illustrious seasons in purple and gold has reimagined the definition of competitor. Celebrities peppered the sidelines, and yet no one cared. Every eye in the building was focused on No. 24, the merciless sneer of the Mamba locking his face into a stone-cold stare as he willed his team, his franchise, and his city to one final win.

Four hundred miles up the coast, one of the most dominant teams of our generation wrapped up a storybook season and cemented their 2015-16 campaign among the greatest of all time. Their MVP, his baby-faced features a misleading contrast to his sniper-like lethalness from deep, appeared night after night to be incapable of missing.

In attempting to describe what happened last night on the hardwood floors of California’s basketball palaces, the typical lexicon of legends — words like “brilliant” and “historic” and “unfathomable” — just don’t seem to suffice.

Considering the feebleness of rhetoric in a situation such as this, it almost seems fitting that the NBA’s season finale is best represented instead by the indubitable directness of numbers like 60 and 73, and onlookers are instead left to the far simpler task of awe-inspired appreciation.

Thank you Kobe. Thank you Warriors. Thank you basketball.