There. I said it. Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time great’s in the game of basketball, needs to hang ’em up. There is no denying Kobe’s career greatness. From his rings to his clutch shots, Kobe has been as entertaining as any player to watch. As a lifelong Celtic’s fan, Kobe’s Laker’s have broken my heart many times. However, I am not blind to the fact that Kobe was a great player. Key word in that sentence? Was. Kobe is not the Kobe he once was.
A players greatest asset is their ability to stay healthy. Over the last two seasons, Kobe has played 41 out of a possible 162 games. Even in those games he played, I won’t say healthy because there is no way he was 100%, he did not play well. The last two years Kobe has averaged 13.8 and 22.3 points per game. However in each of those years, he shot 42% and 37%. From three? 18% and 29%. To put it simply, he’s been AWFUL. His numbers aren’t the only reason to call it quits.
The Lakers are going through a youth movement. That’s what happens when your team sucks. You get high draft picks who hopefully turn into studs. Players like Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr.(son of slam dunk champion Larry Nance Sr.) and D’Angelo Russell are now the focus of this team. Granted Clarkson put up huge numbers on a terrible team, Randle broke his leg in the first game he played in the NBA and Russell hasn’t even played a game after being drafted second overall out of Ohio State in 2015, but they all have the potential to be great. But we obviously can’t forget about Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who might be the best player to ever play (kidding, its obviously Brian Scalabrine). The offense will still run through Kobe because he’s the only proven option but he needs to teach the young guys how to play the game the right way instead of criticizing any mistake they make, because there will be plenty to go around.
For the record, I love Kobe. I love his passion for the game and his desire to win. His career accolades are unfathomable. Five rings, second all time in points, 17 All-Star appearances, 15 time All NBA team, 12 time All Defensive team and the second most points scored in a game, with 81. Kobe is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He could have retired five years ago and still been a lock, but his love for the game wouldn’t let him. I just hope this doesn’t turn into a Shaq situation, where he just can’t bring himself to retire and toils in mediocrity for a few years before finally pulling the plug. Once again, there’s no doubting Kobe’s greatness, but at this point he might be on the verge of ruining his legacy.