Kobe Bryant is arguably the greatest player to ever put on the purple and gold uniform of the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent 20 seasons with the organization and truly put the franchise on his back, especially after Shaquille O’Neal was traded away.
For years, Kobe was the face of the franchise and everything that happened with the team ultimately came down on his shoulders. Now that he is retired, he no longer has to think about those things. For a competitor like Kobe, however, something like that can leave a hole.
In the latest episode of “Connected With…” on Spectrum SportsNet, Kobe spoke about just that, admitting to host Chris McGee that he does miss the responsibility of carrying the Lakers franchise:
“Being a Laker, there’s a sense of pride that comes with every day coming to practice and putting on that jersey. I used to call it the golden armor. There’s just a legacy and tradition that comes along with that. I miss the responsibility of carrying this organization forward and trying to build upon the rich tradition that I grew up loving. I do miss that part.”
In his absence, the Lakers have yet to find any single player take Kobe’s spot as the true face of the franchise. Brandon Ingram seems like he could be on his way, especially after his game-winner against the Phildaelphia Sixers, while Lonzo Ball undoubtedly has a ton of pressure on him as well.
But nobody has truly stepped into the shoes that Kobe occupied as of yet.
The ability to embrace, and thrive, in that situation is something that made Kobe a special player. He lived for the pressure that came with that responsibility and there aren’t many who could do the same.
Replacing someone like that is basically impossible, Kobe has simply done too much for the franchise, and that is why he will see his jersey raised to the Staples Center rafters on Dec. 18.
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