The Day Kobe Bryant Announced His Retirement
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The writing was on the wall and on Sunday the writing came in the form of letter handed to Lakers fans and in the form of a potential game-tying airball at the end of the Lakers loss to the Pacers: Kobe Bryant will retire at the end of the season.
When the world heard the announcement earlier in the day, we all took a trip down memory lane and thought about our favorite dunks, game-winners, quotes and performances from one of the greatest players of all-time and then wished for a dreamy storybook performance that night against Paul George and the Pacers. That didn’t happen. Kobe missed his first 6 shots before making a layup late in a first quarter where the Lakers were outscored 28-12. Kobe did hit two big shots late in the game including a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left.
But then shot an airball on a potential game tying shot.
The heartbreaking shot on a heartbreaking day like this was confirmation it was time.
“I’ve known for a while,” said Bryant who scored 13 points on 4 of 20 shooting. “A decision like this, you can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances. It has to be an internal decision, and finally I’ve decided to accept that I can’t actually do this anymore, and I’m OK with that. It takes a weight off my shoulders and everybody else’s.”
“He’s still Kobe Bryant, regardless of how he shot the ball tonight,” said Paul George who scored a game-high 39 points. “We still had to look at him as the young Kobe when it came to crunch time. It was just a great moment being out there with him. Kobe was my Jordan (growing up), watching him win championships.”