Kobe Bryant Announces Farewell Tour, Intentions to Retire at the End of the Season
20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, countless wins, and five NBA championships later, Kobe Bryant will be hanging up his jersey for the final time after this season.
“You 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./ 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,” said Bryant in his tear-jerking free verse poem “Dear Basketball” on The Players’ Tribune.
“And that’s OK./ I’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/ I’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…4…3…2…1.”
I’m not a huge Kobe fan, but even I shed a manly tear after reading his take on retirement. It’s sad to see him go. I’d argue that Shaquille O’Neal is lightyears better than Bryant any day, but even I can’t deny the mark that Kobe left on the game of basketball. And to be able to express it in words so beautifully?…sorry I’m getting emotional again.
It’s good to see Bryant hanging it up; however, it really is the right time. You could argue that he stayed a season too long, but can you blame him for wanting to make his rounds one more time on the court rather than on the bench in a suit due to injury?
I definitely understand his decision now.
And no matter how he plays, Bryant is well respected amongst his fellow players. When asked about his idol’s retirement announcement, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant for one had some choice words for the media regarding their treatment of Bryant this season.
“I did idolize Kobe Bryant,” said Durant. “I studied him, want to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan, I watched Michael towards the end of his career when he was with the Wizards, and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us.
“I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys treated him like sh*t. He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting…You guys treated one of our legends like sh*t, and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully, now you can start being nice to him that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated, in my opinion.”
Better buy those end-of-the-season Laker tickets quick. The secondary market won’t be cheap.