Kobe Bryant‘s illustrious NBA career came to an end in April in fitting fashion, with a 60 point scoring explosion to lead the Lakers to victory over the Utah Jazz. After 20 years in purple and gold, the time had finally come to hang up his sneakers.
Unfortunately, Bryant’s final season in Los Angeles was a difficult one, with the team setting a franchise low for wins with just 17. Things do appear to be looking up, as the team recently added Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac in the NBA Draft, but it’s going to take some time for the most popular franchise in the league to get back to the top.
Bryant, however, believes that the team is on the right track (via Naveen Ganglani of Rappler.com):
“The Lakers are one of those really rare franchises that, even though they may go through down periods, they inevitably find themselves back in contention…Luke (Walton) and (assistant coach) Brian Shaw and the staff and the young players that they have, have a tremendous amount of potential and I think they will get there.”
Bryant is currently in the Philippines as part of Nike’s Mamba Mentality Tour and has dove into the business world now that his playing days are over. He will always be considered part of the Lakers family, however, and will stay connected to the team even though he isn’t on the court with them.
His optimistic assessment is one that is starting to be shared by more Lakers fans. In spite of the team’s recent struggles, the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Ingram, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson, along with Walton at the helm, has brought hope that brighter days are ahead. It won’t happen overnight, but it does indeed appear that the Los Angeles Lakers are moving in the right direction.