It is the last game of an illustrious career. Kobe Bryant, also known as the Black Mamba, is drenched in sweat, and is willing himself to continue playing; he is leaving everything out on the basketball court.
Before this finale, the five-time champion has racked up over 33,500 points, won two Finals MVPs, two scoring titles, and had an other-worldly 81 point game. However, tonight, all the professional basketball that now remains is :39 seconds of a 25 win season, and, at this point in the game, Bryant has already tallied 56 points. Now, with the Lakers trailing the Utah Jazz by only one point, he has the opportunity to deliver a game-winner in the final game of his career.
Ball in hand, Kobe crosses half court, dribbles towards his sweet spot on the court, and drills his patented fadeaway jumpshot, SWISH!
When it comes to basketball, Kobe Bryant is a basketball legend. His impact on the game is widespread, spanning from China to the U.S., and he has religiously worked to perform in peak condition on the basketball court.
Rap has a comparable star, and his name is J. Cole. Both Kobe and J. Cole are some of the greatest in their craft. However, it is hard to place either in the upper echelon of their field, particularly the top five greatest of all time.
For instance, Kobe Bryant is behind the likes of Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, and Lebron James. This is primarily due to Kobe being more of a solo act, who is not known for wanting to pass the proverbial rock, and he has missed the most shots in NBA history. As a result, this places him near the lower end of the top 10, despite him having such an incredible career.
J. Cole, on the other hand, is competing with the likes of Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, 2Pac, NaS, Lauryn Hill, Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface Killah, and his famous contemporary, Kendrick Lamar. The reason J. Cole cannot separate himself from these artists is two-fold.
It is extremely difficult to surpass mold breakers, which are people who have paved the way for you to be where you are in a given field. Without the invention of the computer, Steve Jobs could not have achieved what he had with Apple because there would be no computer to use. The foundation from which you stand matters and J. Cole is battling some legends. Also, his lyrical ability is a bit lacking when being compared to other hip-hop artists, and that includes his current rival in Kendrick Lamar.
Finally, as it relates to Kobe, J. Cole is also one who now appears to dislike sharing the limelight; after dropping two solo albums, in 2014 Forest Hills Drive and 4 Your Eyez Only, the Dreamville artist is one who no longer has an affinity for features.
In the end, both individuals have been incredible at their respective crafts and should be appreciated for their overall impact and influence.