Why are we celebrating Kobe Bryant’s retirement?

“Every game, it’s about Kobe. Even when he doesn’t play, it’s about Kobe.” – Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

No, that’s not a made-up quote. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak actually admitted to ESPN that this season isn’t about developing their younger players for the future, it’s about celebrating the legacy of Kobe Bryant instead.

And how did the Lakers honor that legacy last night?

They gave the ball to Kobe when he had NO business being anywhere near it.

Lou Williams went OFF in the 4th quarter with 23 points against a very good Oklahoma City Thunder team, and finished the game shooting 48% from the field with a career-high 44 points.

To put that in perspective, Steph Curry is shooting 51% from the field this season.

Simply put, he was ON FIRE! And with 12.5 seconds left down 2 in the 4th quarter who do you think took the potential game tying shot? Kobe. And did he make it? Of course he didn’t make it, and the Lakers lost, again.

Why? Because instead of putting the ball in the hands of their hottest shooter, they gave it to their beloved superstar instead. Except he’s not that good anymore, and his team is being forced to suffer through it.

Why? Remind them again for me Mitch:

“Every game, it’s about Kobe. Even when he doesn’t play, it’s about Kobe.”

Are you kidding me?

This raises so many issues that I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ll start off by saying what a terrible message that sends to EVERYONE in the organization.

You’re going to put this guy above the season? Above the team? Above the future? Above the GAME!?

Look where staying loyal to Kobe has got you. You’re 8-30. The organization is a mess, and it’s BECA– USE of Kobe that no one wants to play there anymore.

There’s plenty of other teams with aging superstars that are doing just fine. Take the Minnesota Timberwolves for example.  They’re not necessarily good, but their future is brighter than ever, and a large part of that is because of Kevin Garnett.

Garnett is a 15-time All-Star, an MVP, and an NBA champion. You know what he’s doing this season? He’s playing 15 minutes a game and cheering on his teammates FROM THE BENCH! Garnett knows his best days are behind him, and he’s focused on doing whatever it takes to help that franchise get back to where it was when he was in his prime. That’s what every organization looks for in a seasoned veteran on a young team.  A captain, a leader, and a GOOD teammate.

Do you think Kobe cares about any of that?

Maybe he does, considering he didn’t play at all in the 4th quarter in a close game against the Kings Thursday night.  A game in which his TEAM came back from a 27-point deficit.

Or maybe he doesn’t, because at that point in the game, he had already reached his minutes limit.

Which begs the question: What are we doing here Mitch? Are you trying to develop your younger players? Or are you trying to appease your diva superstar? Or is it both?

“Under normal circumstances [in a season like this], at some point, you would probably concentrate on just developing all your young players,” Kupchak told ESPN on Tuesday. “But we can’t do that right now.

You can’t do that right now? Why is that exactly? Is it because you truly believe that playing Kobe 30 minutes a night gives you guys the best chance to win? Or is it because Kobe has every pair of pants that you own stacked up in his closet?

“I was hoping that our young players, in conjunction with the veterans that we added, and Kobe at full health, would lead to a better record than what we have today,” Kupchak said. “I didn’t have any visions that we’d win 50 games or 45. Could we have won 45 or 40? I guess it’s possible. In fact, it still is possible.”

And that’s how easy it is to get drugs in California kids! Seriously though, could this guy be any more delusional?  YOU’RE 8-30!

Also, think about the message they’re sending to their fans:

“Yeah, we suck right now, but we still have Kobe! Remember how good he used to be!? Come out and watch him suck it up for one last season while he pretends like it’s still 2008!”

The longer the Lakers stick to this plan, the worse they’re going to end up being. Now, AND in the future. Why can’t Kobe see that? More importantly, why hasn’t anyone had the balls to say this TO him?

The Lakers have no one to blame for this situation except themselves. Instead of moving on from Kobe like they should have two years ago, they decided to make him the highest paid player in the NBA instead. A decision that Kobe took a lot of heat for, but he had his reasons:




Remember the days when players gave UP money to keep winning instead? To do whatever it took for the better of the TEAM? We all remember those players, and we loved them for it.

There’s no way the Lakers wanted to pay him all of that money, but Kobe probably just intimidated them with that ridiculous mamba look he gives until they caved.

So sure, lets just keep rolling out the red carpet and making it rain at the Staples Center for a guy who just CONSTANTLY needs to be THE MAN. Jesus Christ, he probably had nightmares of being the next Scottie Pippen whenever Shaq came anywhere NEAR him.

But now the gig is up. Because after that pathetic attempt of a game tying shot he had no business taking, enough is enough.  What’s more important right now?  The future of the Lakers?  Or the last few months of a franchise bully?

Instead of celebrating the final year of Kobe, let’s just celebrate that this nightmare of a situation, and a season for the Lakers, is halfway over from being done for good.

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