Envisioning the Perfect, Uncompromising End to Kobe Bryant’s Career

Despite Kobe Bryant's controlling, detail-obsessed perfectionism, he doesn't get to decide if the end of his spectacular NBA career is here.

The end comes for everyone, and the signs—the air balls, the self-deprecation, the poignant photos—all suggest it has come for Bryant. His recent comments suggest it, too, which means even more since Bryant has always been less willing to accept his own basketball mortality than anyone else.

ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes has been on the ground in L.A. this year chronicling Bryant's head-on collision with age. He relayed a telling exchange between the legend and his coach, Byron Scott:

Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal captured Carmelo Anthony contemplating the end of his contemporary's career:

So, yes, despite decades spent in defiance, Bryant's NBA career looks like it's nearing its coda. And if the comments and on-court product don't convince you, consider the financial realities: Bryant's contract is up after this season, and the Lakers would be insane to forestall their rebuilding project another year.

Bryant won't play for anyone else:

Do the math. The end is here.

And though Kobe couldn't control the when, he still has power over the how.


Don't Go Quietly

Bryant must dispense with the illusion of dignity. Resist the allure of false humility. Everyone wants him to take on a smaller role, to quietly recede into some kind of Kevin Garnett-esque mentorship gig.

That's not Kobe, and that's not how any of us should want him to wrap this thing up.

Bryant, a pathological competitor, has always attacked basketball problems—age, injury and interpersonal relationships, just to name three—as though they were blocks of granite he could reduce to dust through hard work and force of will.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers