If you fancy yourself as a hoops fan, you know that Kobe Bryant should have put up his fresh Nikes a few years back.
He was the pre-eminent player in the NBA. Many compared him (sacrilegiously so) to one Michael Jordan. His numbers are undeniably awesome and should secure him a ticket to the Hall of Fame. However, today, Jelly Bean’s baby boy is a shadow of his former self … and a highly overpaid anchor around the neck of the Los Angeles Lakers.
We know it. Fans know it. And now, Kobe knows it, as seen with his retirement announcement over the weekend. Only, Kobe had to do it differently. So, he channeled his inner Robert Frost via poem.
Bryant, ever the ballhog at 37, is shooting just 32 percent on 17 shots per game. Although a surefire HOF’er with more than 32,000 points, he “no longer wants to do it.” So, he took to the Player’s Tribune to note that his 20th season will indeed be his last.
Only, he did it with a not-so-flourishing exhibition of iambic pentameter in a piece entitled “Dear Basketball.” His post crashed the Derek Jeter-founded website for most of the day yesterday. It ended with something like this:
And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.
And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always,
While Bryant isn’t threatening the greats — Browning, Hughes, Tennyson, Yeats — Kobe will leave the court with five NBA championships, one MVP, two NBA Finals MVPs, two Olympic gold medals, two scoring titles, and was selected for 17 All-Star games.
And one extended reach for the Nobel Prize in Literature.