This is a post addressed mostly to athletes, but also to just about anyone else-and especially to Kobe Bryant, one of the most gifted players of my generation. I hate the Lakers and I’ve never liked Kobe, however the man is insanely talented and he has won 5 championships and at least a couple of MVPs. He has taken so many awful or mediocre Lakers teams to the playoffs, and despite getting hurt this season he was the reason why LA made it again, although it resulted in them getting destroyed by the Spurs in the first round. Despite not being a fan of him at all, I can respect a guy like him who never quits, plays hard and does most of the right things, even if he is a bit selfish at times. Which is why I think he should retire now.
Not after next season, not after maybe one more season after that, now. I know that Kobe can still play-this season proved it-and that Kobe is aiming for one more season. Yet Kobe needs to look at the other players who hung around way too long. Brett Favre as much as I love him comes to mind. Hell despite still being great at his age Michael Jordan would have been better off retiring instead of playing for the Wizards/Bullets his last couple of years in the league. So many others in the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc have dragged out their careers, and it has been painful and sad to watch. Kobe doesn’t want to hear this, yet someone needs to tell him that coming back for one more season is not worth it. Especially for other, more obviously glaring reasons.
First off the Lakers even if they keep Dwight Howard are not a contender. They weren’t a contender this year with Howard playing, so why the hell would they be improved next season? Besides LA might consider blowing up the team if Howard decides not to stay, something that could very well happen. If that’s the case then Kobe should defiantly not want to stick around. Does he really think that by playing the Lakers will magically have one more great season? I wonder if he’s asked himself this question. I hope he has, because the answer is “No.” I actually think the Lakers will not be very good next year, especially if Howard leaves. Gasol is old, Meta World Peace and Steve Nash are old, Steve Blake is old, the whole team is old. This has “Rebuild Now” written all over it, and the late great Jerry Buss would have agreed.
Considering that there are always things we stop being able to do as well or at all as we get older, in a way I can understand why pro athletes such as Kobe refuse to walk off the field or the court for the final time. Its hard to give up doing something you love so much, and people seem to forget that sports only allows for a certain window of time to accomplish winning a title, being a great player, doing everything you wanted to do. However Father Time unfortunately catches up with all of us, and its caught up with Kobe Bryant. Kobe certainly could be a decent coach in the NBA, and there are other things he could do after basketball. There is thankfully life after sport.