When a 17-year old Kobe Bean Bryant was drafted, he told reporters that he planned to retire when he was 35 years old. 17 years later, Kobe has reinforced those feelings. With next season being his 18th in the league and the last on his contract as well as bringing him to 35 years of age, Kobe still plans to hang ’em up
Kobe Bryant recently passed Wilt “The Big Dipper” Chamberlain for 4th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and that’s not all he has done. He has 5 rings, including a 3-peat, two Finals MVP trophies, one regular season MVP trophy, 15 all-star game appearances, a slam dunk trophy, and countless other awards and highlights to one of the most illustrious careers in NBA history.
So why wouldn’t he want to leave?
But with Kobe planning to retire, where will this leave the Lakers’ organization? With the possibility of Dwight Howard not staying and with Pau Gasol’s future in L.A. uncertain, the franchise could be headed for a very fast downward spiral. With no star players coming from college or abroad in the next few years –with exception of the highly-heralded Andrew Wiggins, the prep star from West Virginia– the Lakers will have to look to fill the gapping hole that will be left by the retiring of one of the greatest of all time.
Even still, the Lakers have the remainder of this season and all of the next to prepare for the inevitable: the departing of a legend. But until then, let’s all appreciate the greatness that was, is, and always will be Kobe Bean Bryant.