Kobe Bryant’s Victory Lap…

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Words by Phlip

This is the inevitable part of the process that is TOUGH to have to watch…

19% 3-point shooting, nights where he goes 1-15, obviously a shell of his prime self…

The Kobe party is over in LA.  He has $25 million reasons to stick out the rest of this ride, but let’s think about this thing.
We know that he is a bit of an egomaniac, so he HAS to be torn between proving how much respect he has from the organization to allow him to shoot them out of games en route to a ghastly un-Laker-like win/loss record, possessing the killer’s spirit to know he will (or has in the past) eventually shoot himself back “on.”  The thing this time is that it isn’t happening and the team is hemorrhaging games by embarrassing margins.

As a lifelong Lakers fan (who liked the Kemp/Payton Sonics for like two seasons), this is PAINFUL to witness.

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According to Coach Byron Scott and apparently GM Mitch Kupchak and Owner Jimmy Buss, Kobe has a license to keep shooting us out of games as long as he is physically able this season.  With the tickets and merchandise that his performances through the years have brought to the organization from around the world, he has earned at least that on a roster rebuilding with a lot of the rotation consisting of 19-24 year-olds and the inexplicable return of Ron Artest Metta World Peace.

Again, there is nothing for Kobe to be ashamed of in what SHOULD be his final run of his career.  Most games played for one single team, most All-Star game MVP award and points, youngest player to score each of 23-32 thousand points (though LeBron will start toppling these starting this season), only player to score 600+ points in 3 consecutive postseasons.  Even the more dubious distinctions like having records for misses in a career (which is easily explained off by the fact that he has played so long)and is 4th all time in games with at least 20 missed shots.

Back to it, though…

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It was painful to watch Michael at the end of games in Washington with his knees packed in ice.  It is painful watching Peyton Manning come into a season ADMITTING that he can’t feel the fingers on his throwing hand and proceeding to prove it by throwing 17 interceptions in just 9 games.  So is it difficult watching someone who has made the career for themselves that Kobe has to decline like this.  Note that we’re not saying that the decline has been fast, considering injuries have ended the past few seasons for him.  What we’re seeing is proof that Father Time is undefeated and should take this time to recognize that it happens to EVERYONE who stays in the fight this long and appreciate what we had and not focus on what it is currently.

As soon as he is done, the #24 (and perhaps #8 with it) will go into the Staples Center rafters and Kobe will be given one of those figurehead positions with the team until his coaching career begins.  5 years later (and not one second longer), he will be a first-ballot hall of famer.
And for that, we are thankful for his service.

Words by Phlip
Follow Phlip on Twitter.

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