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The end of the Kobe Bryant era

The end of the Kobe Bryant era

image1 (1)By Devin Prasad (@the_d_prasad)
We all knew this was coming. Basketball fans all around knew that Father Time would eventually catch up with Kobe Bryant and that his time in the NBA would be complete. As a Lakers fan and Kobe fan since the day I was born, the news of Kobe’s retirement did not come easy. It is hard to imagine the league without the Black Mamba, but put aside all bias and love of the Lakers and to me it feels like Kobe made the right decision.
Coming off an injury that kept him sidelined the majority of last season, nobody expected him to be the same player that would drop 50 points back to back nights. The problem is that Kobe is no where near that same level. His 30.4% from the field is the lowest in his career, and he is averaging just 16.6 points which is the fourth lowest in his career. It’s tough to watch. People were ripping on Kobe early on, and it was just disrespectful. It was as if his 19 previous years in the NBA which included five championships, 15 All-NBA nominations, and 17 all star appearances meant nothing. The same guy who the commissioner of the NBA himself called one of the best players of all time was getting mocked for his poor play at age 37. That is why Kobe’s announcement which came through a poem was perfectly timed. The letter addressed all his fans and those who did not like him. It spoke of his time as a little kid when he dreamed of playing in the NBA, and simply said that the his body was no longer capable of playing the game he loved.
Kobe’s announcement silenced those who just a few days ago had mocked him. People began to realize what this announcement really meant for the NBA. The end of this season will mark the end of an era, the Kobe era. It was filled with ups and downs, from the championships to the years when the Lakers were below .500. All around it was exciting. People who hate Kobe can even attest to the excitement and joy he brought to the game. Each night was a mystery and nobody knew just exactly what Kobe would do that would awe the crowd, but they knew each night that they were in for a show. Kobe did it all, scoring 81 points, hitting game winner after game winner, or just making his presence known on the defensive end. Many times recently he would turn back the hands of the clock, and reveal the 18 year old that had come into the league in 1996. It seems though that the clock has taken control, and has pushed Kobe beyond what his hard work can overcome.
As sad as it is. It is time, time to say goodbye to one of the best to ever play this game. It is unlikely that the young Lakers will find their way into the playoffs, so this regular season is it. People need to stop watching the game and finding where Kobe could have done better. They need to look at each game for what it is, a chance to witness Kobe, a player who truly encompasses all that the NBA is, one last time.

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