Even though the story was the inevitable, I still cannot believe I am about to type the following sentence.
Kobe Bryant will retire at the end of this season.
Now for those of you who know me, y’all know that I am not the biggest Kobe fan. I blame him for breaking up what would have been – and should have been – a dynasty. I still believe that Kobe ran Shaq out of LA because he wanted to be the man.
I think that stars did not want to come to LA as free agents because they didn’t want to put up with Kobe’s act on the court. Hell, he even calls himself a loner who doesn’t value friendships over titles.
Having said all of that, I respect the hell out of Kobe’s talent. He is easily among the top five players in NBA history. If I had a “top five” (think Chris Rock), it would look like this:
- Magic Johnson
- Michael Jordan
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Kobe Bryant
- Larry Bird
Now I know a lot of y’all will hate on my all-time NBA top five, but when I decide to give a damn, I’ll let y’all know.
At any rate, while I will concede that Kobe is among the greats, it pains me to see him go out this way. I know that Father Time (and sex) is undefeated and untied, injuries really took a toll on Kobe’s game. He has been a shell of himself this season, having the worst shooting percentage of his career.
It’s even worse that his Lakers suck royally this season, and it will be years before things get A LITTLE better. I blame Jim Buss, and to a certain extent Jeannie Buss for not firing her brother.
Jim has literally run this once-proud Lakers franchise into the ground. Hell, as much as I hate the Lakers (I’m a Knicks fan), the NBA is much better when the Lakers are good.
As for me, I choose to remember the Kobe Bryant of yesteryear in all of his greatness. Kobe Bean Bryant: man.