Kobe Bryant, one of my favourite basketball players and one of the best to ever play the game, announced that he would retire at the end of the season. When I read his beautiful, heartfelt letter on The Players’ Tribune, tears filled my eyes and ran down my face. It was official. My favourite [male] basketball player was officially coming to the end of his career.
It hurt me to see Kobe suffer from major injury, after major injury, over the past three seasons, especially as his age made it harder for him to fight back. Kobe’s decline in this current season has broken my heart, as his body continues to break down, preventing him from being the stellar player we all know he is. Unfortunately, he won’t be going out in a blaze of glory in his final season, but at least he can see that his time is up and I rate him for that.
When I became a basketball fan, Kobe Bryant was the first player that I fell in love with. In fact, he was one of the main reasons why I became a Lakers fan and why I always will be. I could see that he wasn’t perfect and had many flaws, but I love him for who he is. One of the main reasons why I love Kobe is because of his work ethic. He is tenacious and he will fight to win, carrying the whole team on his back and trying to get them back into a game all on his own. It didn’t always work, but when it did, it was magic.
Kobe is also resilient, playing through pain and displaying the most unbelievable endurance. His strength inspires me and sometimes when I work out, I think about what he does to motivate me and push me harder. I may not be a sportsperson, but I definitely have the ability to push a little harder if he can shoot two free throws with a torn Achilles — that was an amazing moment for me.
Seeing Kobe play for the Lakers and appear in All-Star games has been a constant for me since I started following the NBA, so knowing that he will no longer be a part of that is really sad for me, but time does move on and people get older. As much as I hate to say it, this is definitely the right time for Kobe to retire, but at least I’ve had the opportunity to see him play and watch him win two of those five championships. I also got a close glimpse of him in London, after he’d won his second Olympic gold, which is something that I will treasure forever.
I know that this couldn’t have been an easy decision to make for Kobe, as you can see how much he loves the game, which made me love it right along with him. Basketball is clearly his first love and having to give up your first love must be one of the hardest things to do. However, Father Time is knocking and Kobe is showing grace by answering the door, so now it is time of us to start waving good-bye. I just wish this goodbye could have ended in one final playoff run for him.
For now, I have to say thank you Kobe Bryant for the dedication you showed to the game of basketball and providing us with so many great moments. You will forever be one of my favourite players and one of the best to ever grace the court.