Kobe’s Last Game

We were stuck in unbelievable traffic for hours. My colleague Mike and I were making our way from San Diego, where we just had a meeting with a potential client, to Pasadena for a presentation at JPL the next day. With the traffic the 140-mile trip took close to four hours!

We knew Southern California well enough to not typically do this kind of thing, but the business requirements left us no choice. Turns out this was not an ordinary work trip and left Mike and I with a shared experience and memories we would recall years later.

Rocco’s Tavern – Pasadena, CA

It was April 13, 2016 the final night of the NBA regular season and several key games were being played, including the Warriors going for a historic record. During their epic run, it was easy to be a big time Warriors fan, and I certainly was. When we finally got to the Pasadena hotel, we Googled and Yelped our way to a nearby sports bar. We ended up at Rocco’s Tavern, which is well known in SoCal due to having four locations, wall-to-wall TVs, decent Italian-focused pub grub and great wings.

When we entered, there was already a huge crowd. Given my focus on the Warriors getting the record for best NBA regular season, I had forgotten this was Kobe Bryant’s last game.

As I wrote to my colleague in a New Year’s Day text message – “Hey Mike – Happy New Year! The SF Chronicle is doing a series of the top 10 memorable Bay Area sporting events for the past decade. They have the night the Warriors won their 73rd record-setting game as #7.”

“That was the night you and I drove from San Diego to Pasadena and managed to see the game at a local sports bar. They had all screens on Kobe Bryant’s last game. We managed to talk the bartender into giving us one screen above the bar.”

“Stephen Curry scored 46 points in less than 30 minutes and had 10 3s, taking him over 400 for the season. He went on to win the MVP in a unanimous vote. Trust all is well and you are enjoying retirement!”

Mike responded: “It’s funny, I was actually thinking of that night just recently too. I think it was a story in the [New York] Times Sports section also doing a recap on some of the highlights of the last decade and they listed Kobe’s final game—60-point night— and it got me remembering that night at the bar as we watched. I actually forgot about the GS record that night too. That was a fun sports evening.”

Both the Lakers and Warriors games were being played on the West Coast, so the games were in sync as they progressed. From our seats at the bar, we could hear the Lakers fans throughout the game as they cheered their team on. As Kobe began to pile up the points, the chants turned to Kobe, Kobe, Kobe!

The Lakers players were perfectly happy to give the ball to Kobe on virtually every play and he ended up taking 50 shots. It was a close game and Kobe was the decider, as he often was. He scored 15 of the Laker’s final 17 points including the go-ahead jumper with just over 30 seconds left in the 101-96 Lakers win over the Utah Jazz. This was a highly competitive game as Utah needed the win to make the playoffs, so they certainly did not ease up to let Kobe get his points!

2015-2016 was the Laker’s worst year. They finished 17-65 in last place in the Pacific Division. Their .207 winning percentage was second worst in the League. Kobe scored 17.6 points-per-game, considerably below his career norms, although he still led the Lakers in scoring. Nevertheless, the fans honored Kobe. There was a sellout crowd of 18,977 at the Staples Center that night too.

I should mention I lived and worked in LA from 1982-1993. I made many friends there and they turned out to be like family. The Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar led “Show Time” Lakers were dominent and fun during that time, going to the NBA Finals eight times and winning four championships.

The Lakers Season Review tells you everything you want to know about Kobe’s last year playing. Pages 47-48 provide key hightlights of Kobe’s career.

The crowd heard Magic Johnson honor Kobe with a pre-game speech. And, of course, Kobe gave his famous “Mamba out” speech at the end of the game. No one left Rocco’s that night until Kobe finished speaking, and even then, the crowd lingered.

After the grim news of Kobe’s death, Mike and I texted again.

Me: “Ironic you and I were just texting about Kobe’s last night and the 60 points. Tough news today about him and his daughter.”

Mike: “Extremely, extremely sad. That night was one of the first things I thought of when I heard about his death. That was a unique night and one I’ll always remember. Just a terrible tragedy.”

Me: “Totally agree. Leaves two daughters and his wife. Awful.”

While I loved seeing Curry’s fabulous performance and the Warriors get the 73rd win, what stands out today are the Lakers fans. Despite the incredible diversity of the City of Angels, Kobe was universally loved in the Los Angeles area. I can still hear the fans chanting – Kobe, Kobe, Kobe!

The author and Mike at an industry conference.

PG&E Part III – Implement a Knowledge Based Culture

Many of the readers of this blog know I was employed by the “premium content” electronic publishing industry for almost forty years. In our positioning of products to our clients, we would often discuss the need for a knowledge-based culture. This was especially important with our corporate audience with the closing or absence of libraries.

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PG&E Part II – Learn From Industry Best Practices

In my last post we looked at the premise is PG&E responsible for the California wildfires. Numerous experts have pointed to a myriad of PG&E failures that have directly caused wildfires and put PG&E in a very tenuous position regarding their finances and future. But what can be done?

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Is PG&E responsible for California fires?

I woke up at 4:00 am the morning of October 27th. I went to my home office on the top floor and looked West out the window. All was black. Normally I can see lights from the homes on the ridge top and in the canyon as I look that way.

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What is Wine Tasting Order?

People often ask me, “how did you learn about wine?” My answer always starts, “well I drink it,” getting into the subject in a fun way. I then go on to talk about visiting wineries and tasting, reading about wine, looking at wine videos and even feature movies, and talking about wine with people who enjoy that kind of thing.

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Dreams and Responsibility: Having Plan B

It is graduation time and many commencement speeches and greeting cards talk about following your dreams. Transitions are always a good time to be thinking about “what am I going to be when I grow up?” All changes in life lead to thinking about where one is going.

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Your Information Environment

We are living in a time where millions believe they are well informed if they watch one broadcast network, take a peek at a social networking site, and maybe do a few web searches. Those who are knowledgeable in fact-based research skills are disturbed by the impact of this broad perception.

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