After making his announcement about retiring at the end of the 2015-16 Los Angeles Lakers season, Kobe Bryant has received praise from former and current players.
During the 2007-08 NBA season, Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers and immediately helped them to three consecutive Finals appearances where they won in 2009 (Orlando Magic) and 2010 (Boston Celtics).
With Gasol now finishing his career as a member of the Chicago Bulls, he spoke about what he will always remember playing with Kobe according to Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report:
“Just how competitive he is,” Gasol said. “He’ll continue to be no matter what he does. That’s just his spirit. He’s a hardworking guy. He wants to be the best. He doesn’t settle for anything less. He’s always going to try to be—and will be—exceptional.”
When asked about where Kobe ranks all-time, Gasol had the following to say:
“One of the greatest,” Gasol said. “Where would he rank? That’s very subjective. But he’s definitely at the top, for what he’s accomplished with his teams and how long he’s played. The dedication, the work he’s put into the game and how much he’s given to the game. So I feel like that makes you one of the best ever.”
When Kobe officially retires, there will be debates about where he ranks all-time. Some consider him the greatest Laker and the greatest shooting guard behind Michael Jordan.
With 66 games remaining in the season, the Lakers will embark on an eight-game road trip that begins in his hometown of Philadelphia. As a result of Kobe’s announcement, this will likely start his farewell tour as one of the greatest to ever play this game.