20 years after his legendary career began in 1996, the great Kobe Bryant has decided this season will be his swansong year. Bryant, 37, posted an emotional message on The Players Tribune Sunday saying that although his heart and mind can still handle the NBA grind, his body has nothing left to give. Whether you’re a diehard Kobe fan or not, it’s immensely depressing to see such an amazing legacy come to its final chapter like this.
The Black Mamba is shooting an abysmal 67 of 220 (30.5%) from the floor this year, his worst ever. But it will not tarnish his amazing legacy.
17 All-Star selections, 11 All-NBA 1st Team selections, an MVP award, five championships, and two Olympic gold medals is merely scratching the surface of what Kobe has accomplished. He’s one of only four players in NBA history with 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 6,000 assists. The other three are Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, and LeBron James.
His competitiveness was second to none. Many NBA greats consider Kobe to be the closest thing we’ve ever seen to Michael Jordan. Kobe is a winner. He always will be.
Byron Scott, the Lakers head coach, was shocked and depressed upon hearing the news. His words do a great job of summing up how many are feeling at this moment. “I’m just sad more than anything. Just sad more than anything. Somebody who I truly care about, have a lot of respect for. I think it’s always hard when greatness like Kobe decides to hang it up.”
Four and a half months is all we have left to cherish one of the very best of all time. Let’s make the most of it.