Me @ Lakers Summer League 96. In the background is 18 year old Kobe Bryant.
1996 was a really good year.
That’s when I started to look outside my inner circle of family and friends for a measure of success. Something to look up to and learn from. I was 13 and realizing that my parents didn’t know everything. I have actually come full circle with that feeling through my nieces and nephews. I’m sure they feel the same way about me, and, I’m sure just like my parents, I kind of see their imperfections as well. Maybe that’s what being 13 is all about, just realizing that nothing is perfect.
1996 was when Steve Jobs went back to Apple. I’d end up being, like many of us, amazed by the guy’s laser focus. 1996 was also the year the Chicago Bulls, led by MJ, went 72-10. I remember watching almost every game of that season in amazement. The consistency game in and game out was spectacular. Jay-Z also dropped Reasonable Doubt in 96. With lines like “On the rise to the top many drop, don’t forget…In order to survive got to learn to live with regret” or “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant, that’s how we on it”. I memorized every line, started to break them down and think about them. In general I got obsessed with hip hop. Lastly, in 1996 a 18 year old Kobe Bryant was drafted into the NBA saying things like “I’m a kid who loves challenges. Put a challenge out there, and I can do it. I’m willing to make sacrifices.”
Jobs took Apple from almost failing to the largest company in history. Jay-Z went on to release 13 number 1 albums, the most for any solo artist of all time and became one the most financially successful artists of all time. That Bulls team became the measuring stick of greatness for a generation, and Kobe Bryant went on to become one of the greatest players of all time.
I watched. I analyzed. I learned. The ups, the downs, the journey of chasing excellence. I have read multiple books on Jobs and watched all the documentaries. I know every Jay-Z lyric and have watched nearly every single game Kobe has played. I have probably seen every interview any of them have done. I just took it all in.
Suddenly, it’s coming to an end.
Jobs is gone. There are no more documentaries, no more interviews, no more books. Jay-Z went from releasing an album every year to almost 4 years since his last. The Golden State Warriors might top the Bulls Record and Kobe Bryant has 10 days left in the NBA. What happens now? I dunno but it’s 9-6 and forever Jay-Z (Feelin’ It).