On November 30, 2015 Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant announced he would retire from the National Basketball Association (NBA). He made this announcement through a poem entitled “Dear Basketball”. In this poem, he expresses his love for the game from the age of 6 years old to now at 37. It came as no surprise that Bryant would retire this year, the only question was when he would make the decision. After that decision, tickets in every arena throughout the country begin to sell out. Face value for tickets begin to double and triple for some arenas. Everyone was trying to be a small part of history and watch Bryant for one last time. For those of us in this area, that opportunity came last Friday on December 4th as the Lakers visited Philips Arena to play the Atlanta Hawks.
Bryant was given a standing ovation when he was announced before the game. The Hawks, leading by four points, showed a minute long tribute to him before the second quarter begin. That would be the extent of celebrating for Bryant and the Lakers. The Hawks got hot during the second quarter and led at halftime 52-36. The Lakers never led the entire game and eventually lost 87-100. Then began the “Kobe Kobe Kobe” chants and standing ovation once again for Bryant. He finished the game with 14 points on 4-for-19 shooting. This type of production has been typical for Bryant this season. Over the last two years he has played 41 out of 164 games because of injuries. Father Time is undefeated and is delivering another TKO to one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Bryant has played all of his 20 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers with the following accomplishments: two Olympic gold medals, two time NBA Finals MVP, two time NBA scoring champion, four time NBA All-Star Game MVP, five NBA Championship titles, 15 time member of the all NBA team, 17 time NBA All-Star participant, and the third all-time leading scoring (over 32,000 points) in the NBA. The Lakers have 60 games remaining on the farewell tour. Hopefully the Black Mamba won’t get snake bitten and remain healthy enough to finish the season. Thank you for the memories!