Kobe’s Retirement End of an Era but Means Lakers Finally Rid Themselves of Salary Albatross
Kobe Bryant went out in a way so perfectly Kobe-esque. On Wednesday night, Bryant dropped his seventh career 60-point game in a comeback win over the Utah Jazz. It took him 50 shot attempts to get there, but that only reinforces the point. That’s not meant as a knock against the 18-time NBA All-Star, either. If there’s one thing you could always count on Kobe Bryant being, it was himself, and having the ball in his hands is just something he’s used to.
While the end of the Kobe Era is a sad day for smart basketball fans everywhere, it also signals a new day in La-La Land. It means the Lakers can finally move on and focus on rebuilding their struggling franchise into the regular contender fans are accustomed to.
As most fans are well aware, the Lakers signed Bryant to a two year $50 million contract extension in 2014 that was considered questionable at best at the time, according to NESN.com. Many speculated it was less a matter of sound negotiations and more a gift of sorts for previous accomplishments and what he meant to the organization the last 20 years.
Regardless, Bryant certainly won’t have to worry about saving for retirement like the majority of Americans. About 46% of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29% of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Most fans were OK with the deal at the time. Bryant gave the Lakers his heart and soul throughout his entire career. He was a living embodiment of the cliched “All I do is grind” mentality that so many players say they have but few fully commit to.
That contract did have consequences, though. Ever since, the Lakers have been stuck in NBA purgatory. With little salary cap room to sign any other stars and a roster of young, unproven talent, winning games has been few and far between.
As Kobe embarks on the next stage of his career, it’s important to celebrate him for what he meant to not only the Lakers, but the sport of basketball globally. For the organization, it’s just the first step in the journey to reclaiming the kind of former glory Bryant was responsible for helping them achieve.