After winning his fifth championship in 2010, Kobe Bryant was in prime position to tie or even surpass Michael Jordan’s six championships. Unfortunately, Kobe has suffered three consecutive season-ending injuries and the Los Angeles Lakers are now in their rebuilding process.
With the Lakers 5-24 after a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they are on pace to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
When asked how he is dealing with losing in his 20th and final NBA season, Kobe had an interesting response according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Kobe on all the losing: “You can train a cat all you want to bark. The damn cat’s not going to bark. It makes no sense to be yelling at it.”
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) December 24, 2015
When the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash prior to the 2012-13 NBA season, the moves were expected to extend their championship window. Unfortunately, Howard left after one season and Nash dealt with numerous injuries that eventually led to his retirement. Since then, the Lakers have tried to sign superstars in free agency in hopes of staying in contention, but have been forced to rebuild through the draft.
Although having an opportunity to win a championship in his final season would have been ideal, Kobe is realistic and understands the situation. While he will not be able to tie Jordan, he is at peace with his decision to retire at the end of the season.
Since announcing his retirement, Kobe has adjusted his game to allow the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson to figure out their own games. While the five-time champion has played well recently, he has ‘zero’ thoughts about rethinking his retirement.