15 games — that is all that remains in the illustrious career of one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour has been bittersweet for fans as they have the chance to celebrate a legend, but it also their way of saying goodbye. Bryant has played 20 seasons in the NBA and the league will certainly not be the same once he hangs up his jersey.
The Los Angeles Lakers will not be making the playoffs this season, meaning the team’s final game in April against the Utah Jazz will be Bryant’s last. In front of the Staples Center crowd, Bryant will wear the purple and gold one final time.
After the Lakers loss to the New York Knicks, Bryant talked about his pending retirement. Although he would have liked to have ended his career on a higher note, there is no doubt Bryant will cherish these final games, via Bob Garcia of Sports Out West:
Kobe Bryant: "I'm ready. It's exciting. These next 15 games should be fun and the last should be even more fun."
— Bob Garcia IV (@bgarciaivsports) March 14, 2016
Bryant has been celebrated at every opposing team’s arena and fans in Los Angeles have also shown their appreciation for the five-time champion. Kobe has been very stoic throughout his career, but in his last rodeo, even he has to open up to the love.
This season, Bryant has averaged just 16.8 points to go along with his 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists. It has not been the most productive or efficient season for Bryant, but he is still attracting attention no matter the state of his team.
Los Angeles is accustomed to winning championships and Bryant has given the city five banners to raise. Still, missing the playoffs is not the way to send off a champion and unfortunately, Bryant will have to watch the post-season from home.