Kobe has not been very good since he tore his Achilles in April of 2013. He has been particularly bad this season, playing for a particularly bad Lakers team that’s being coached by a man who might be afraid of him.
Kobe has clearly been on a farewell tour all season, so it came as no surprise when he announced last night it would be his last in the NBA. What was surprising was how Kobe announced: with a poem on Derek Jeter’s “Medium for Jocks” platform The Players Tribune. Here’s a relevant stanza:
You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
It’s not a great poem! But it is sweet—something that’s rarely said of Bryant, whose approach to the game could be described as sociopathic.
We still have a lot of Kobe left though, provided he can stay healthy. The Lakers, who are currently 2-14, have 66 games left. They may be 66 long games, if the previous 16 are any indication. This sequence last night, in which Kobe tries a game-tying shot he probably would have made fours years ago, is a pretty solid metaphor for his season so far.