Game 82: Cali is the Big Winner

Extract all the pomp and circumstance and hype, what’s being celebrated tonight is the year 1996. That’s when a team won 72 games and was celebrated as the best ever. That’s when a 17 year old was traded to his favorite team and stayed 20 years and won 5 titles for them. April 13th, 2016 is the moment in time that defines a generation, 20 years after 1996 put its mark on the NBA.

The longest tenured player for the Los Angeles Lakers franchise will take the court for the very last time. 7,101 days have passed since Kobe Bryant took the court in his first NBA game and didn’t score a single point.  19 years, 5 months and 11 days ago, on a Sunday, he played six minutes. Since then he has scored 33,583 points in the regular season and 5,640 points in the playoffs. He has played 48,595 minutes in the regular season and 8,641 minutes in the playoffs. He has eclipsed every possible high mark anyone ever had for a 17 year old on the fast track to the NBA, the #13th pick. He is the last member of his draft class playing a NBA game.

Take a ride up the 101 north.

In Oracle Arena, the Golden State Warriors franchise will forever be a reminder of greatness. The most wins in NBA history for a single franchise will be eclipsed with a Warriors win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

7,297 days have passed since the Bulls won their 72nd game of the season against the Washington Bullets, in D.C. 19 years, 11 months and 23 days have passed since a team had the opportunity to eclipse that record and put their name above the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the best regular season team in NBA history. That happens in Oakland. It’s going to happen tonight.

Never before in NBA history has a last day of the season meant so much. Usually it’s a time to rest players, have Fan Appreciation night and slide your thinking to the playoffs. But Wednesday is a special day in the NBA and in the state of California. As expected the ticket price people have pushed the envelope.

Economics is supply and demand. More people want tickets than there is a supply which exponentially increases the price. Still, $55,000 for courtside seats at Kobe’s last game? Someone paid that. The Warriors are entering the over $2,000 dollar range for tickets to witness history.

The winners on this last day of the 2015-16 season are Joe Lacob and the Warriors ownership group, and the Buss family of six children who have mucked up the franchise after daddy died but who still profit. Kobe’s last game is going to further line their pockets.

The restaurants and bars are going to make a killing in both cities, and the state will see an increase in alcohol consumption. Cops are going to get overtime pay because it’s going to get rowdy somewhere.

The state of California is on stage and not since the Angels-A’s World Series has the sports lens been trained on 400 miles of coast land. California, though, rolls through big events like mice eat cheese. Celebrities, rich people, entertainers, fires, drought, traffic, earthquakes, the Warriors, the Lakers, Oakland, L.A., the state loves its people and its drama.

Every twenty years something enormous happens. Like tonight.


photo via llananba