The regular season has come to a close and Bryant had yet another miraculous season. As he continues to age, his game continues to evolve from highflyer to closer. Bryant had to fight from the very beginning to prove his worth after being acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers when he was drafted.
The generation of superstars before him have clouded the world that surrounds him. The likes of Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Oscar Robinson were the players he modeled his game to emulate.
The comparisons became more apparent this season as Bryant climbed to sixth on the NBA's all-time scoring list. It was even more evident last June, when Bryant stood in front of a full-capacity Staples Center holding up all five fingers on his hand; Jordan has six.
Bryant's entire career has been based off winning, not MVP awards or All-Star appearances or how many times he made the NBA First Team. All he cares about is winning—a gold medal and five NBA championships prove that.
Bryant's now the leader of a new generation of superstar. He's the man they all compared themselves to during their childhood, he was the one they modeled themselves after.
Durant has already almost doubled the amount Bryant scored in his first four seasons on his way to two consecutive scoring titles.
James has already beaten Bryant with two MVP awards, with Rose on his way to tying him. But Bryant has never lost in the postseason to a team with a younger superstar.
Bryant is this new era's past, present and future. Though his body ages and his time on top of the NBA deteriorates, Bryant is still setting the standard for this generation of athletes.
He is the man everyone is aspiring to overcome, and though Bryant only has so much left in the tank, he will continue to rise above all the challenges in front of him until his body just can't hold up any longer.
Durant has a shot at ending Bryant's reign this season, while James is constantly pushing to return to the NBA Finals and Rose will most certainly be ready for his chance soon. They'll all have their turn at taking down Kobe, but until they do, only one question remains.
Just how tall will the walls of Kobe's palace be when he falls?