The book of one hero will close soon. It will be archived in the glossary of champions and legends. And when that book ends another one will begin.
Kobe Bryant will retire after this season for good. He won’t be there to amaze us on the court. He won’t be there to frustrate us with his impossible shots. He won’t be there for us to criticize his play. He won’t break anymore records. He won’t save us. We will never see Kobe Bryant play professional basketball again and that hurts a lot.
The Lakers and Kobe have spent the past 20 years with each other- on and off the court. Next summer will be their first without Kobe for over two decades. It will be bizarre for the Lakers to start a new chapter in their historic legacy on a clean slate. It will be different without Kobe being in their pitches during free agency- offering his wisdom and experience. It will be new to focus on other players. It will be exciting for the Lakers to find a new author in their anthology of legends.
The Lakers’ future is optimistic and with Kobe retiring, the path to rebuilding has never been clearer. The Lakers will have a lot of money to spend next summer and they will add more financial flexibility once Kobe is off the books. The NBA salary cap will increase tremendously and the Lakers will be able to sign up to two top free-agents. According to Basketball Insiders, the Lakers will have around $57 million to spend, assuming they will keep everything on their current payroll.
The Lakers already have three young studs in D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, with Clarkson being the oldest at 23. The core of these three players has shown glimpses of talent and dominance. They are fearless and seem poised to be great. The Lakers have a solid and young foundation to build around and it will be ideal for them to get at least two top talents to be a part of it. They have the money to do it and it is time for them to start executing it.
For the past three seasons, the Lakers were heavily criticized and bombarded with questions for everything regarding Kobe-his contract extension, his shot selection, his pitches to free agents and his declining health. In a few months, the Lakers will move on from their beloved superstar and hero. They have defended him long enough and he was loyal to them, and soon the two will try to flourish and succeed without the other. It will be tough, but it will happen. They will go their separate ways at peace with their decision.
Kobe Bryant is my favorite player and he is Los Angeles’ favorite son. His conquest for his sixth ring has ended but his legacy and history will live on forever in our hearts. He is leaving Los Angeles Lakers in a position for them to succeed. Hopefully, the Lakers will make him proud.
Thank you, Kobe Bryant for all that you had done for us. It has been an honor and privilege to watch you grace the basketball court with your greatness.