The 2015-2016 NBA season will officially mark the end of an era as future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant has announced his retirement. Kobe has spent his entire 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and has helped lead them to five NBA Championships. Bryant announced his retirement this past Sunday via The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform founded by former New York Yankees captain, Derek Jeter. The Players’ Tribune provides professional athletes a medium for their direct reflections, thoughts, and experiences.
In Kobe Bryant’s first-person poem titled “Dear Basketball,” he says that basketball “gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream/And I’ll always love you for it.” “But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer,” Bryant wrote. “This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.” These powerful words by Kobe Bryant illustrate the difficulty in saying goodbye to a legendary career. He is the top scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history, which is an incredible feat considering the many Hall of Fame Lakers who played before him. Only 13 players in NBA history have played on more championship teams than Kobe Bryant. The list includes players such as Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. Bryant is also 2nd in NBA history with 17 All-Star selections and is the youngest person to achieve 30,000 career points. The accolades speak for themselves.
Kobe’s skill, work ethic, and love for the game are admired by many, including future Hall of Famer, Dwyane Wade, who said, “He was my favorite player and he set the bar for me.”
This season has been a struggle for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 3-15 record. Kobe is having one of the worst seasons in his career, but injuries have been a main factor for him missing 123 games over the past two seasons. The Laker season has become a farewell tour for Bryant, as players and fans alike are coming out in droves to witness the legends’ last games. Thank you, Kobe Bryant for an incredible career and inspiring athletes across the world.
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