When thinking about the greatest players in both Los Angeles Lakers and NBA history, two of the first names that will always come up are Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
As Kobe now embarks on the final season of his career, enjoying the fan support and adulation in each city, it will surely draw comparisons to Kareem’s farewell ceremony during his final season in 1989.
Many current and former players have come forward and expressed their admiration for Kobe and now Abdul-Jabbar has penned a poem entitled ‘Dear Retirement’ for Time.com in which he asked retirement to embrace Kobe:
Retirement, embrace him like you did me. Teach him
all that you taught me about finding who I was off the court.
My place in the community.
Most of all, help him realize that there is no such thing as retirement,
merely passing from one room into another.
A bold adventure in self-discovery
where he may find a new Kobe
who may surprise and delight him all over again.
It is often difficult for athletes to enjoy retirement as they have spent their entire lives playing their sport and don’t know how to react when that is no longer a part of their life. That often leads to players returning from retirement.
This doesn’t seem like it would be the case for Kobe who has already begun investing in different business ventures such as The Players’ Tribune. Kobe has said that basketball isn’t wired inside of him the way it used to be which is usually the best sign that it’s time to let it go, and Kobe is doing that.