Kobe’s Swan Song
Most Lakers fans aren’t looking forward to the end of Kobe Bryant’s career. He has been synonymous with the purple and gold for as long as many can remember, and spent year after year growing before our eyes. His impact has been so enormous that Bryant has become ingrained into the very culture of Los Angeles basketball, as much a part of the city as Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign.
In spite of Bryant’s success in Los Angeles, some pundits have recently been making the case that a separation from the Black Mamba will ultimately be the best thing to happen to the Lakers, perpetuating the image of Bryant as an anchor preventing the team from moving into the future.
However, we shouldn’t be so quick to characterize the potential retirement of Bryant as a positive thing, regardless of the case that can be made for the cap space and spotlight that it would open up for another star. Bryant has done too much in his glory days to receive that kind of treatment now that winter is here. Instead, Kobe’s 2015-2016 season should offer an opportunity to reflect on the career of one of the greatest to ever lace them up.
Regardless of where people stand on the Kobe retirement issue, all should be able to agree that Bryant has been an incredible player to watch over the course of his career . Many Lakers fans matured along with him, cheering year in and year out as he pushed his body to the limits and beyond. As polarizing as he can be, Bryant’s work-ethic and impact are bullet-proof, and it’s these things that we should be celebrating.
There will be moments this year where Bryant looks like what he is: an aging superstar. Shots will fall short, opposing players will blow past him, and days off for rest will be needed. However, there will also be moments of clarity, where Bryant’s legs have a little extra spring in them. He will dazzle us with a no-look pass or frustrate defenders with an unstoppable fade-away, and in that moment he will take us back in time with him, back to better days when Kobe ruled the league.
When that final whistle blows on Kobe’s Hall of Fame career, fans will have an opportunity to show their appreciation, and that’s truly something to look forward to.
The 2015-2016 season is almost here, Lakers fans. In spite of all the negativity out there, all the naysayers, there is a heck of lot for the supporters of the purple and gold to feel good about. Enjoy the journey as the Lakers build their way back; it only makes the ultimate destination that much sweeter.