Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center, Kobe Bryant announced he will retire at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season.
While Kobe stated numerous times he would not make a decision until the end of the season, his announcement came as a surprise. Following the 107-103 loss to the Pacers, Kobe had a press conference to discuss his decision to retire after 20 seasons.
While discussing different topics, Kobe shared Michael Jordan was actually one of the first people he informed about retirement during the summer according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
“[Jordan] is actually one of the first people that I told over the summer,” Bryant said Sunday. “We’ve been in frequent contact.”
In response, Jordan provided him with advice about his final season:
“We had some laughs, went back and forth about it,” Bryant said. “But the important thing for him, he said, ‘Just enjoy it. No matter what, just enjoy it. Don’t let anybody take that away from you, no matter what happens, good or bad. Enjoy it, man.'”
While retirement is an extremely difficult decision, Kobe seems at peace with his decision. Although playing 20 seasons with one franchise is a rare accomplishment, he has not played to his standards and is suffering career-lows in shooting percentage.
With the five-time champion’s announcement, the Lakers will embark on an eight-game road trip that begins in his hometown of Philadelphia. After being booed his entire career, it will be interesting to see how the crowd responds knowing this is his final visit.