Kobe Bryant is arguably the best NBA player of this generation, as he has helped guide the Los Angeles Lakers to five world championships, while currently placing fifth on the league’s all-time scoring list.
As a result of these accomplishments, Bryant is the most popular active athlete within the confines of Southern California.
Throughout the rest of the country though, Bryant is seen as both popular and polarizing, due in large measure to his “win at all costs” attitude on the court and some of the controversial actions that have taken place in Bryant’s life away from the game.
Because of Bryant’s superstar status, combined with the Lakers role as the NBA’s most prominent franchise, LA sells out virtually every road game during the course of the season.
Friday night, per the above iFolloSports.com original video, Bryant greeted a large crowd of screaming fans before boarding the Lakers team bus outside their Minneapolis hotel. Many other Lakers received loud cheers (video of Derek Fisher and Metta World Peace leaving the hotel), but none of those cheers were as loud as the shouts for Bryant.
This scene took place outside of the Graves 601 Hotel, in downtown Minneapolis, a few hours prior to the Lakers 105-102 victory over the Timberwolves.
During this hard fought game, Bryant accidentally collided with Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio, tearing the rookie’s ACL and sidelining him until next season. Not surprisingly, this accidental act has enraged many already polarized basketball fans in Minnesota to despise Bryant and the Lakers even further.
Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant draws a crowd every time he and his fellow Lakers make a stop in an NBA city. Not every fan reveres the man, but without question, everyone who comes to see him does so out of a level of respect for his abilities and accomplishments.