Kobe Bryant

Kobe Is Not Great Anymore And That’s Been Brutal For Lakers Fans To Figure Out

By Ikeem Boyd

As a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, Kobe Bryant’s decision to retire from the game of basketball is bittersweet.

He’s my favorite player of all time and played a huge role in raising five championship banners.

Kobe is the Lakers; the Lakers are Kobe’s team. That’s just the way that it’s always been for the entirety of my fandom and most of my life.

I’ve grown up with Kobe, and I can’t fathom an NBA season without him. Like every other Laker fan, and basketball fan for that matter, I’ll be sad that he’s gone. But at the same time, Bryant has left us all with great memories and he deserves to be celebrated for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

The current version of Kobe Bryant is hard to watch. Seeing Bryant shoot 30 percent from the field on a nightly basis is tough.

His decision to retire is the right one. It’s not only best for Bryant as an individual, but it’s also best for the Lakers as franchise.

The Lakers can now focus on re-building the team around their young core of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle.

Lakers fans leave the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo Credit:johrling/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Lakers fans leave the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo Credit:johrling/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Greatest Ever? 

There’s always been this great debate about who’s the greatest basketball player of all-time. Let me preface what I’m about to say, by stating that I was born in 1992.

When Michael Jordan was dominating the NBA and winning championships with the Chicago Bulls, I was a young kid. I didn’t follow or fully understand the game of basketball then.

Even though I didn’t witness the Jordan era, I’m aware of his greatness, what he accomplished and what he did on a global scale for the NBA and game of basketball.

With all that being said, Kobe Bryant is the closest thing to Michael Jordan; he’s the best basketball player of my generation and the best basketball player that I have ever witnessed live.

I don’t really enjoy ranking the all-time greats because each is great in their own way and they each brought something unique to the table.

Besides, I haven’t been around long enough to have seen all of them live. It’s tough to make rankings off of highlight packages, vintage games on ESPN Classic and on statistics. I do know the greats of my generation, though, and who I got to see growing up.

The great players of my generation include: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and a few others that are escaping me at the moment. Out of that bunch, there’s only one player that you can argue has had a better career than Bryant and that is Duncan. Bryant’s resume speaks for itself.

Where does that rank Bryant amongst the all-time greats? I can’t tell you. Everyone that you talk to will give you a different list. What I can tell you is that regardless of where you believe Bryant ranks on the list of all-time greats, he’ll always be in the discussion.

Although this season is looking like it’s going be another lost one for the Lakers, I’m excited to see how Kobe goes out. It’ll also be cool to see how the NBA, its players, coaches, and fans show their appreciation for Bryant and all that he’s done.

I’m hoping that during my next visit to Los Angeles, I’ll be able to catch a Lakers game. I have to witness greatness in person…one last time.

Thank you for a wonderful 20-year journey, Kobe. Basketball won’t be the same without you.

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

For Kobe: The Spirit is Willing, But the Flesh is Weak

Five-time NBA champion and former MVP Kobe Bryant announced Sunday that he will retire at the end of this season.

The 20-year veteran made his decision public with a published piece in The Player’s Tribune. In the post, which reads like a free-verse poem, Bryant thanked the fans, not just of the Los Angeles Lakers, but basketball fans in general for giving him as much back as he gave to them.

However, the poem also contained Bryant’s personal reasoning behind calling it a career saying, “My heart can take the pounding/My mind can handle the grind/But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

There is little to argue with Bryant’s self-assessment, as his previous two seasons had been riddled with injuries. He missed the first 19 games of the 2013-2014 season with an Achilles injury, which was followed by a fracture in his left knee which sat him six weeks. This same knee issue kept him out of the final 18 games as well.

Bryant fared little better on that front during the 2014-2015 season. Although he started the first 27 games, inconsistent play led to him being benched for a short time. Then, in January 2015, he tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

So far, 2015-2016 has not been kind to the veteran either. Though he has started every game so far this season, he is shooting only 31.5 percent from the field, including a 1-for-14 performance against the Golden State Warriors. This has contributed to the Lakers current record of 2-14, worst in the Western Conference.

Those numbers notwithstanding, it is doubtful that NBA fans will look back on Bryant’s Hall of Fame career and think of his final 82 games.

Instead, they will think of him as the 17-time All-Star and the two-time Olympic Gold Medal-winner. They will think of him as the man who hit game-winning shots. They will think of him as a man who called it a career, not when all the pundits said he should, but when he decided it was time.

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Kobe Bryant Announces That He Will Retire At End Of Season

Update: 7:40 PM EST

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In a post on the Players Tribune website, Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players in NBA history announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

In a poem like post titled “Dear Basketball”, Bryant said that he would be forever grateful to the sport that gave him so much.

“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.”

Bryant is an investor with the Players Tribune.

Stay with Rise News. More to come. 

Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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