Sadly the world received the news today, that we all knew was imminent but many of us never wanted to actually hear it. Kobe Bryant has announced his decision to call the quits after this season, ending a 20-year, historic career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players’ Tribune on, Sunday, November 30, 2015. The third-leading scorer in NBA history wrote a poem entitled ”Dear Basketball” to announce his decision.
Bryant penned a poemÂ to fans, via The Players Tribune. Here is what the Black Mamba had to say,
From the moment
I started rolling my dadâ€™s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:
I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all â€”
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.
As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.
And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.
I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because thatâ€™s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as youâ€™ve made me feel.
You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And Iâ€™ll always love you for it.
But I canâ€™t love you obsessively for much longer.
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 itâ€™s time to say goodbye.
And thatâ€™s OK.
Iâ€™m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.
And we both know, no matter what I do next
Iâ€™ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 â€¦ 4 â€¦ 3 â€¦ 2 â€¦ 1
Love you always,
Aside from the Warriors making an incredible run at history, the gloomy storyline of this year’s NBA season has been the decline of Kobe Bryant. Never one to give up, Bryant repeatedly said that he was unsure if this would be his final season. Kobe clearly fought hard the past two seasons to get healthy but his body seemingly has tapped out, as he has either not played in games this year or struggled significantly in the games that he has played in. The 5 time NBA Champion is recording career lows that he hasn’t had since his rookie year, almost 20 years ago. PPG (15.7) and FG% (31%).
The Lakers (2-13) hosted the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night and fans received copies of Kobe’s poem, Dear Basketball.
NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver had this to say about the announcement,”Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game. I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories”
Heat guard, Dwayne Wade credits Bryant for inspiring much of his game and he weighed in on the Kobe ordeal on Sunday before Bryant made his announcement.
“It’s tough to see one of the absolute greatest competitors go through this.Â You can put a team around a guy to help a guy, especially late in his career. They’re just not in position right now to do that. He’s won five championships, so no one feels bad for him from that standpoint. But from a standpoint of seeing one of this era’s greatest players go out in a rebuilding process, it’s tough.”~ Dwayne Wade to the Associated Press
Lakers Head Coach, and former Bryant teammate, Byron Scott was taken off guard when he received the news and he had this to say. “He kind of shocked me when he told me. I’m just sad, more than anything. He’s somebody who I truly care about and have a lot of respect for. It’s always hard when greatness like Kobe decides to hang it up. I thought he probably had at least another year, but this year isn’t over. We’ve still got a lot of games left, so I know his purpose is to finish out the season.”
This is a very sad day not just for the Black Juice, but for NBA fans across America. Many have come, many have left, but the NBA will never feel the same once 24 for the purple and yellow hangs it up for good after this season. I can only hope that we appreciated KB24 and KB8’s tenacity, poise, skill and that killer instinct that he displayed night in and night out for so many years. The media was harsh on him, Shaq disliked him, some teammates didn’t like playing with him but the man was a WINNER in every sense of the word. All Kobe cared about was winning and that was admirable. There has been greats before Kobe, there are greats present, there will be greats in the future, but there will NEVER be another Black Mamba.
Take a look back at history when Kobe scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006
What are your thoughts about Kobe’s retirement announcement?