The day has come. Kobe Bryant is retiring from the NBA immediately following the 2015-2016 season. The five – time NBA champion announced his retirement in a touching poem via the internet, and made sure that each fan in LA Staples Center received a free copy. Kobe’s legacy as a winner with the heart of a true champion is how people will remember him. But what inspires people about Kobe is his pure love and competitiveness for the game.
Kobe is a big reason why the NBA is so successful. He changed the game with never- before- seen highlights without tarnishing the legacy of the greats that came before him. Bryant would practice for hours, mimicking his game after “old school” giants like Jordan, Kareem, and Magic. To see the determination and hard work he put into making his game lethal was rare, and fans may never again see things he did, like scoring score eighty-one points in a game, winning the slam-dunk contest, or being part of his last NBA championship. Every time he graced the floor, fans knew they were in for a treat. If Kobe was one-hundred percent healthy or sixty-five percent healthy, he still gave it his all. That’s what inspired his greatness. To me, Kobe Bryant is my Michael Jordan. No one will come as close to representing the skills, desire, and motivation he put into making sure he was being mentioned in the same breath as Jordan.
So as his career comes to a close with sixty- six games remaining this season, let’s cherish the greatness that he displayed on the basketball court. Let’s not bash, laugh, or discredit the level of hard work and perseverance he has gone through to get to this point in his career. If you read his retirement poem, then you too understand the emotions of what it’s like to walk away from something you love so passionately. Most people only say goodbye once. Kobe Bryant will say it sixty-six more times. Lucky us.