Even Kobe had off days.
Florida guard Scottie Lewis was all over the court in Florida’s 78-71 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday.
Whether it was knocking down spot-up jumpers or in-your-face perimeter defense, the former five-star recruit showed he was worth the hype.
The New Jersey native made a point to start the game off hot.
Lewis — who hadn’t started a game since Jan. 7 — began the game shooting 4 for 4 from the field in the opening minutes and ended the half with 13 points.
He pointed to the rafters at least once after one of his jump shots connected in his early onslaught, as if he was gesturing to the late great Kobe Bryant.
The former NBA star died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in Calabasas, California.
Lewis took to social media to thank him for his inspiration and to make a vow.
“Thank you for what you have done for the game and thank you for what you have done for me,” Lewis said in an Instagram post on Sunday. “My dream of meeting you and getting a chance to pick you(r) brain may never be accomplished, but I promise my generation and the generations after me will lead on your name and your legacy.”
Lewis’ tenacity and constant chatter on the court with his teammates would have made any basketball fanatic in any generation proud.
His season average was 8.1 points per game before Tuesday’s matchup and his career-high was 15.
He reached 15 points in the opening minute out of halftime after an under-the-basket layup but ultimately struggled in the second half, shooting 1 of 4 from the floor and totalling 17 points.
Lewis was 3 for 5 from behind the arc and had three steals in Tuesday’s loss as well.
Until then, Lewis had been coming off the bench, but coach Mike White decided to mix things up and put him in the starting rotation in favor of forward Omar Payne.
Although Lewis’ efforts might have been in vain and dropped off considerably in the second half, his passion on both sides of the court came from his attempt to make his “superhero” proud of him.
“Growing up for me, Kobe Bryant was super impactful in my life as far as my mindset, the passion that I play with and how hard I work off the floor,” Lewis said. “This game was for him really...obviously we didn’t win, he’d probably (be) mad at me if he talked to me about that.”