Los Angeles Laker’s Kobe Bryant announces retirement
By James Paxson
The legendary Los Angeles Laker’s shooting guard Kobe Bryant announced on Nov. 29 that this will be his final season in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bryant will end his twentieth season not only with the Lakers, but also the NBA, setting an NBA record for being with the same team for the most seasons.
Bryant is one of the last remaining players who went right to the NBA from high school. Bryant was drafted the thirteenth overall pick in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft to the Charlotte Hornets; however, the Lakers took interest and agreed to trade their draft pick to the Hornets for Bryant.
Within the first few seasons, Bryant made his way to the starting lineup and won the Slam-Dunk Competition in 1997, which also made him the youngest player at eighteen years old in the NBA to be named the Slam-Dunk Champion.
Bryant is nicknamed the “Black Mamba” for his quickness, and his ability to strike fast and deadly like the snake. Early in his career, Bryant was compared to greats like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
“Kobe Bryant has inspired me and a lot of other basketball players,” said Schoolcraft’s Women’s Basketball player, freshman forward Jade Smith.
Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were two of the best Lakers of all-time, but had many disagreements as teammates on and off of the court. The more these two played on the court, however, the better the Lakers played, winning three championships in a row in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In that three year time-span Bryant averaged 25 points per game and earned the respect of teammate O’Neal, becoming the second all-time best duo of the NBA.
Bryant went on to become one of the best Los Angeles Lakers in the history of the game. His credentials prove to all that he will be remembered as a great teammate, defensive player, offensive player and a stand out performer. Bryant’s awards include: five time NBA champion, two time NBA finals MVP, the Most Valuable Player in 2008, a 17 time all-star and the Lakers all-time leading scorer.
“Kobe Bryant will always be one of the best and most dangerous players of all-time,” said Schoolcraft freshman Billy Toth.
Regardless of a few off court issues, Bryant will always be known as an NBA legend. He put up major numbers in the playoffs and carried the team during clutch moments. He scored more points in his career than the great Magic Johnson, who is known to some as the best player to put on a Lakers uniform, this last season the NBA will lose a legend and one of the best off of the court.
In years to come current players like LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant will prove to fans that the legend of Kobe Bryant will not die as they try to take his place and live in his legacy as one of the most influential NBA players of all time.