I love Kobe Bryant. Kobe took the rough and rugged style of the NBA in 90’s and carried it into the new millennium. He gave basketball fans a glimpse of what it was like to watch MJ in his prime. He was the best player in the NBA before LeBron reached the league, and he’s definitely on the short list of the greatest players of all time.
All of that withstanding, I’m glad his final season is coming to a close. That is not to say that I’m happy he won’t be playing anymore, but this season has been nothing short of a joke in Los Angeles. Nobody expected Kobe to go out and win an MVP this year or lead the Lakers to the Finals, but I didn’t expect or desire to see the worst team in the NBA on national television two or three times a week. I get it. He’s retiring. So, play. And retire. Yeah, Derek Jeter had has final lap around baseball and it seemed like there was a ceremony before every game to honor his career, just like Kobe. But, in his final season, Jeter made significant contributions to the team which was at least competitive that year.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have looked like a circus since day one. A few examples: they have a player nicknamed “Swaggy P”, good for the worst nickname ever; they have players snitching on other players like it’s a reality TV show; Kobe averages over 16 shots per game, which is 20th in the league, and every player that shoots more than him has a shooting percentage that is at least 6% better than his.
Obviously, the Lakers’ season isn’t entirely Kobe’s fault, but the amount of sandbagging going on in Las Angeles is atrocious and ultimately embarrassing.
I wish Kobe could retire gracefully, but, for me, it has been anything but.