Aside from winning an NBA Championship, there was no better way for Kobe Bryant to end his career than dropping 60 points in a Lakers victory. In a vintage Kobe performance, the Black Mamba came through in the clutch for the Lakers and gave fans a performance they will never forget.
However, after 20 seasons with Kobe, the Lakers will have to move on as a franchise. Despite a mediocre past three seasons, Bryant kept the Lakers relevant and the spotlight still on the purple-and-gold. Now that the five-time champion has called it quits, the team will look for the young guys to carry the torch.
In his final post game press conference, Bryant talked about the mentoring the young nucleus and said he will be working with them this summer according to Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation:
Kobe says “you won’t see me” but he’ll work with the young guys
— Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner) April 14, 2016
Bryant has been helping D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson all season long and they will surely miss his presence in the locker room. Kobe knows that they hold the fate of the franchise in their hands and he did whatever he could to pass on his knowledge.
The Lakers franchise has succeeded in almost every generation and the 16 championship banners hanging from Staples Center proves that. Kobe held up his end of the bargain by bringing in five titles and the next group of stars must continue to do the same.
Los Angeles will never be the same without Kobe Bryant, but if there is one thing that can keep the fans’ spirit high is that the team has the right young pieces to build around.