Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning are both superstar athletes who can be considered all-time greats at their respective positions. They have had an incredible amount of success in their sport, as well as in their business ventures on the side. They have each won championships, MVPs and have had numerous personal achievements that stand out in the minds of many.
During their peaks, they were nearly unstoppable, and would often single-handedly lead their teams to victory. Their understanding of the game, intense preparation and legendary work ethics have allowed them to continue their careers at a high level, but Father Time may have finally caught up to both athletes.
Bryant has seen his last three seasons end early because of injury, and he is clearly not the same player he once was. He has been playing in the league since he was a teenager, and has endured a number of long playoff runs. It has taken a toll on his body, and it remains to be seen how much he has left in the tank. He is shooting an abysmal percentage from the field while playing for a Los Angeles Lakers team that is among the worst in the league.
Kobe has taken heat for accepting a large contract that has hurt the organization’s changes of strengthening their roster. He is clearly frustrated that he can no longer produce at a high level, but that has not stopped him from trying. He is no longer capable of carrying the team, and has had to play the role of a mentor to his younger teammates.
Manning has had to face similar issues in what could be his final season in the league. Last year, injuries affected his production after a strong start, and were a big part of the Denver Broncos struggling in the playoffs. This season has not been much better, and he continues to throw interceptions at an alarming rate. Their offense has played poorly, despite numerous weapons at the wide receiver position.
Manning has been fortunate to have a dominant defense which gives his team a chance to be a threat in the playoffs. They have arguably been the best unit in the league, with talent at every level. However, Manning recently suffered another injury, and it is unclear whether he will be able to finish the season.
It is tough to watch two fierce competitors struggle to the finish line, as injuries and age have finally caught up to them. They have both accomplished so much over the years, and remain well-known figures in their respective sports. They have had to battle rivals and younger players threatening to take their spot among elite athletes, but have willed themselves to continue to be great.
Hopefully, they still have enough in them to write one last chapter in their historic careers.