The Day Kobe Bryant Announced His Retirement
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.”