One of the greatest players of all time, and the true heir to the Jordan legacy (sorry LeBron!) announced his retirement at seasons end. This is indeed a stunning development, not because it was unexpected, but because when he announced it there was sincerity in his voice. Bryant is truly ready to hang it up and there is less than a 5% chance of him pulling the good ol’ un-retirement trick that many star athletes pull. Bryant was able to make the decision final when he said that his mind wasn’t drifting towards basketball anymore. It was one of many indicators that it was time for the first ballot Hall of Famer to call it a career and focus on other paths in life.
While the Golden State Warriors continue to tear the league apart, this is yet another big story that will push the most disrespected NBA champions on the backburner. Kobe was not only one of the greatest players of all time, but he was also an icon internationally. He is just as famous outside of America, and he continues to sell the most merchandise of any active player. Fans worldwide were already getting their dose of Kobe and buying out tickets just in case this was his last season. With it finally confirmed, expect there to be a lot more media attention and rabid fandom up until his final game, which will unfortunately end in the regular season. Kobe lived up to and even surpassed everyone’s expectations as the heir to the Michael Jordan throne, and in his illustrious career he has collected 5 NBA Championships, which is only 1 shy of Michael Jordan. He did the legacy of the Showtime Lakers proud, and that includes both on the court with his superior skills and off the court as a brand ambassador.
The only downside to the story is that he will be leaving the team in the hands of unproven rookie D’Angelo Russell. Russell is showing immaturity unbecoming of a Lakers franchise player, and looks to be heading in the wrong direction both on the court and off. Besides a recent Kardashian rumor, the explosive point guard was once compared to Magic Johnson but is looking more like a poor man’s John wall. Besides that unsettling news, the great Kobe Bryant has done everything he could possibly do for this franchise and is leaving the team on a high note.
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