DOUBLE TAKE: Should Kobe hang up the sneakers?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt’s Take:

How does a professional athlete know when to hang it up and call it a career?

Is it when their production falls off? When they are no longer the player they once were? When they become riddled with injuries?

The answer is, I have no idea. But what I do know, is there are some players too stubborn or “driven” to compete that it seems they will never retire.

If there’s one NBA-er that exudes that will power, it’s Kobe Bryant.

We all know he’s one of the greatest to play the game, that cannot be argued. And if you try, you are just foolish.

As of late, talks have been circulating that the “Black Mamba” should retire — nonsense.

In more than 1,200 career games, Bryant’s averaged 25.4 points a game. So his scoring average this season (22.6) isn’t far off from his career average.

So needless to say, his production hasn’t fall off, too far. Sure, he’s been injured and isn’t the player he once was, but is that a bad thing?

Perhaps Bryant’s game is evolving? Also, his assist and rebound averages are slightly higher than his career average this season.

Retirement talk is foolish. Yeah, we know the Lakers are not going to win another NBA Championship in the twilight of Bryant’s career, but that’s not the point.

As with most athletes, Bryant probably wants to go out on his own terms, not when some executive dictates it.

As one of the greatest Lakers of all time, he’s earned that honor.

Andrew’s Take:

How can you stand 6’6” tall and maintain a Napoleon complex?

There is more than one path to happiness in this life, but it doesn’t seem like Kobe Bryant will enjoy his time on Earth until he’s looking down at Michael Jordan. And you could definitely compare the pursuit of “His Airness” to a quest for global rule.

I understand that it’s hard to hang it up, especially when you’ve experienced the highest levels of success in your professional environment, but you have to recognize when an opportunity as passed.

To become one of the best athletes in the history of the game of basketball requires a level of commitment that most of us, including myself, cannot comprehend.

And when I say, “I understand,” that doesn’t mean I know what its like to be a 36-year old black man who makes $23 million a year, and has to weigh his legacy options.

What I understand more than Bryant is his place in the National Basketball Association in 2015. The Los Angeles Lakers don’t have the worst record, but they might as well. They have no chance of making the playoffs, and I don’t see how the franchise can turn things around by next season, the last in the Black Mamba’s contract.

There’s always the trade option. But when the best Laker of all time (Magic Johnson) calls you the best Laker of all time, you’ve accomplished something.

Bryant needs to realize that he is doing more harm than good. We, the fans, are remembering less and less of the assassin that won five championships, and more and more of the expensive old guy who’s trying to milk every penny.

Kobe, save your knees, and save the franchise that has been so good to you.

You’re 36. You’re going to realize very quickly that there’s a life outside of the Staples Center.