With Kobe Bryant off to a poor start for the Los Angeles Lakers, there has been a lot of discussion on if he should retire at the end of his 20th NBA season.
While Kobe will go down as one of the greatest players of all-time, he is averaging 15.2 points on 31.1 shooting from the field and 19.5 percent from three. With head coach Byron Scott not considering reducing his minutes or role, there is concern as the season progresses.
One former player who believes it is time for Kobe to retire is current TNT analyst, Charles Barkley. While he has shared this opinion before, Barkley knew it was time for him to retire when he was pump-faking, via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
“Somebody asked me how I knew it was time to retire,” Charles Barkley, a Hall of Fame player, said in a phone interview. “I said because I was pump-faking. So now I see Kobe and he’s pump-faking because he’s scared they are going to block his shot. That’s what the pump-faking is. People are knocking your shot into the stands.
At the age of 37 and coming off three consecutive season-ending injuries, Kobe is on pace for his worst shooting percentage of his career:
“Kobe can’t get open shots. He can’t go around people to get layups. It’s hard to make contested shots.”
Although Kobe set a new NBA record for most seasons played with one franchise, it has been difficult to watch. Most of his shots have fallen short and he has been forced to take seven threes a game, which would also be a new career-high.
At this stage of his career, there was hope he would transition his game from a scorer to a facilitator. With D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson looking to speed up their own development, it will be interesting to see what adjustments Kobe makes as the criticism regarding his currently play runs rampant.