Twenty years is a long time.
Since Kobe Bryant entered the league in 1996, the world has become a completely different place. Gone are the days of players wearing baggy jeans as they stroll into the arena while they listen to a cassette tape on their Walkman (Google it, kids).
When Kobe first stepped foot on an NBA court, the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were still competing for championships and were setting historic records with 72 wins in one season.
Now, MJ and Pippen are long gone and youngsters like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are on the verge of breaking the Chicago Bulls’ seemingly unbeatable record.
Yet throughout all the change, Kobe remains.
The Mamba has truly seen it all during his twenty season stint in the league, and he recently sat down with legendary hoops writer Steve Springer to look back on his lengthy career in a video interview for USA Today.
“I’m thankful,” Bryant tells Springer in the video. “I’m not sad at all. I left no stone unturned, I gave everything to the game for 20 years in the NBA and more before that. So I feel very thankful to be able to play this game this long.”
But on Wednesday night, it will all come to an end. When the final buzzer sounds, the five-time champion will step off the court and wave to the crowd one last time.
And although his life in the NBA will then be done and his retirement from the game will begin, the legacy Bryant has worked so hard to build and maintain over the years will remain forever.