Kobe Bryant Retires After Historic, Legendary Career
by Jonny Blaize on Thursday, March 10th, 2016
As many people know by now, the game of basketball is losing one of its pioneers: Kobe Bryant. The Lakers star, age 37, is planning to retire after this season. Many fans consider this retirement to be the end of an era in the game. Coming from Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, Kobe entered the NBA at the ripe age of 18. The Charlotte Hornets chose him as the 13th pick, but traded him that same night to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe remained loyal to the Lakers for the remainder of his incredible career. Kobe experienced extreme success while sporting purple and gold, including receiving an MVP award and 5 NBA championship awards. A sure First-Ballot Hall of Famer, Kobe Bryant was a part of 18 All-Star teams in his 20 season career. He also recorded 1 eighty-point game, 5 sixty-point games, 25 fifty-point games, and 112 forty-point games. These games represent just a few of his many accomplishments.
On top of his many accolades, Kobe has broken plenty of records during his 20 season career. He is currently the only player in NBA history with more than 30,000 points, 6,000 assists, and 6,000 rebounds, revealing his versatility as a player and his true ability to “fill the stat sheet.” Additionally, Kobe was the youngest player to score 33,000 points, is ranked in the top five for total points scored, and is the only guard in NBA History to play for 20 seasons.
Despite all the rings and points that he scored, what really made Kobe special was his competitive spirit. Across the league, players acknowledge Kobe’s intense will to outplay and outwork his opponents. Let’s remember that Kobe came directly out of high school and into the NBA. At the start of his career, players were bigger than him, mentally stronger than him, and a lot more experienced. Furthermore, he was not drafted in the top 10, whereas all other great stars were. Kobe used these disadvantages as motivation. His first season was not impressive as he only averaged 7 points, shooting at 41% accuracy. Through hard work and grit, he became one of the greatest players ever.
Players across the league have raved about Kobe’s work ethic. Here are some examples: Dwyane Wade, a close friend of Kobe Bryant, once spoke about Kobe’s insane work ethic in an ESPN interview. Wade stated that, “Everybody else just woke up… We’re all yawning, and he’s already three hours and a full workout into his day.” John Celestrand, Kobe’s ex-teammate, once jokingly told reporters that he was happy Kobe broke his arm because now he might finally be able to beat Kobe to the gym in the morning. However, he told reporters that when he got to the gym, “Kobe was already in a full sweat with a cast on his right arm and dribbling and shooting with his left,” displaying his relentless and endless quest to constant improvement.
Kobe Bryant will be greatly missed in the basketball community. His eighty-one point game, his game winners, his impossible circus shots, and his highlight reel dunks will always be remembered and cherished, but his commitment and authentic passion for the game are the most astounding of all.
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