Kobe Bryant Is NBA’s Brightest Star, But Has His Light Begun To Fade?

One of the hardest things to witness in any sport is a star who fails to recognize when his time has passed, and even though he realizes his skills have eroded, the star's competitive nature will not allow him to walk away from the game.

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball talents to ever grace the hardwood, but it's painful to recall his final years as a member of the Washington Wizards.

Jordan still managed to average 20 points per game in his final season of 2002-03, but the physical gifts that made him special were no longer present, and his game was basically reduced to a spot-up jump shooter.

The biggest difference was on defense, because Jordan prided himself on shutting opponents down, but at the end of his career players attacked Jordan off the dribble on a routine basis.

It became clear to me that Jordan should lace up his sneakers when a young Los Angeles Lakers' guard by the name of Kobe Bryant poured in 42 points in the first half of a game against the Wizards, with Jordan as his primary defender.

By that time Bryant had already won three NBA championships of his own, and surpassed Jordan as the premier talent in the league, but that game may have been an unofficial passing of the proverbial torch.

Mercifully, Bryant played very little in the second half of that game against the Wizards, and Jordan could only shake his head afterwards, but there was a lesson to be learned if Bryant chose to pay attention.

Most Jordan fans choose to erase his final two seasons from their memory, but Bryant should use it as a teaching moment to show what can happen to a player who is to proud to call it quits.

Bryant has the same competitive nature as Jordan and it has helped him amass a legacy which includes five championships, more than 25,000 career points, and a designation as one of the best players for one of the league's most storied franchises.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers