Is It Time for Kobe Bryant to Retire?
December 30, 2013
Filed under Sports
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In 2013 Kobe Bryant signed a $48.5 million, two-year contract extension. Last season, Bryant only played six games due to injuries. This season, even though he averaged 25.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists before season-ending shoulder surgery, the Lakers still seemed to struggle with a record of 13-34.
Bryant has played 19 seasons in the NBA, coming straight out of high school. He has accomplished many things, such as passing Michael Jordan for third-most career points in NBA history, earning an NBA record 17 selections for All-NBA teams and 12 for All-Defensive teams and he has also led the league in scoring twice, won the Slam Dunk challenge and earned four All-Star Game MVPs in 14 appearances.
It’s no secret that Bryant is a star. But it’s time to hang up his shoes. Bryant has had a long career in the NBA. He loves doing what he does, but he doesn’t hide the fact that it hurts him to play.
In an interview, Bryant recently told the LA Times, “My body is hurting like crazy, around the clock, and if I don’t want to do this anymore, I won’t do it.”
In the same interview he added: “I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t crossed my mind. Right now I doubt it… but anything’s possible.”
The fact that he talks about the pain it brings him to continue playing shows that he needs to keep his body healthy. Sooner or later he is going to fall right on the court for pushing his body too far.
There may be people who believe Bryant has years left in him and that it’s nowhere near time for him to retire. It’s no secret that the Lakers aren’t too hot right now, and some may think Kobe staying longer might help in rebuilding the Lakers. But due to his injuries within the past three years, Bryant has missed more games than he has played, indicating that the more he plays the better the chance he is going to get hurt.
I’m not trying to say Bryant is old and fragile, but what I am saying is that when a player has had more injuries than years he played in the NBA, it’s a sign. The average age NBA athletes retire is between 34 and 37 and Bryant is right in the middle of that.
I’m not a fan of Bryant but I also don’t cut him short on how good of a player he is.
Of course he has thousands of fans who look up to him and want to see him continuously beast on the court. But those same fans have to think about what’s best for the five-time champion. He has played for almost two decades, and it’s just that time.
It is no doubt that whenever Bryant does decide to retire, not only will the Lakers not be the same, but the NBA itself won’t be the same. However, Kobe will always be Kobe and no one can ever take the accomplishments he has worked so hard for away from him.