Watching and listening to Kobe Bryant talk to the media as a spectator at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game brought a feeling of premature closure to most NBA fans. Well, at least those who aren’t completely delusional. It really sunk in when Kobe evaded the question of whether or not he would return to the Los Angeles Lakers this season twice in just a few minutes: He’s done.
See? You didn’t freak out when you read that unless you’re a “Kobe fan” who really knows nothing about the Lakers, or basketball in general.
It wasn’t weird to read that because you’ve already come to this conclusion yourself. The problem is Kobe is now under contract for two more seasons and the Lakers owe him $48.5 million over that span.
Now let’s get one thing straight: Kobe will suit up for the Lakers again, although it won’t be for 36 minutes in any one game and it likely will only be for about half the 2014 and ’15 NBA seasons. During that limited playing time, he’ll be a shell of his former self and everyone will begin to compare his twilight days to those of Michael Jordan’s from a decade ago.
From a team perspective, Kobe will be playing second fiddle to whatever overrated star the Lakers bring in during free agency this offseason. Whoever the star is, he’ll only be brought in to sell tickets because everyone knows he won’t be able to play effectively alongside Kobe. So all these Lakers fans calling for the team to sign Carmelo Anthony are clueless because their team would be even worse then, although it would still be the most popular in the league.
Seriously, anyone who thinks Melo and Kobe could co-exist, much less win, together should never be allowed to watch basketball again.
So we are gathered here today to lay to rest the elite career of Kobe and begin to prepare for the final two years of his career that will be fill with just as much drama off the court, but about half the excitement on it. Don’t believe that? Please turn in your “halfway intelligent basketball fan” card at the door as you leave.