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NBA Rumors: Kobe Bryant set to retire?

The former first round pick is averaging over 16 points per game this season, but his 33.6 shooting percentage is the worst of his illustrious career and nagging back and leg injuries have had the 6’6″ forward already missing some time this year.

USA Today reported that Bryant is likely done after this year, especially with the LA Lakers unlikely to make the playoffs and little to prove after 20 years in the league. Kobe does have a competitive side, but with the pain and a team that isn’t going to challenge for a championship anytime soon, maybe the time is now and not later.

The 37-year-old has hinted this will be his last year, but he has also stated, “If you asked me today, this would be my last year. But you never know, we’ll keep it open. Whatever happens, happens.” Not really the response most NBA experts would expect, but if he finds his game in the next few weeks, anything can happen.

One of the biggest problems with the franchise is they are now a much younger team with Bryant and Metta World Peace the only real veterans with the kind of experience it takes to win a title, but hitting so few clutch shots, not hitting the boards like he has in the past, and the team looking to rebuild with youth, leaving now could open things up for this team over next summer, perhaps landing a player like Kevin Durant.

Over his 20 years in the league and 17 All-Star game appearances, Kobe has done it all. Nobody wants to see a superstar go out with a whimper, especially a player that has shown so much toughness on and off the court during his career and with the franchise struggling to win even with him playing, maybe it is time to hang up the sneakers and let the younger players takeover and let this franchise find the next leader it needs to finally get back as a contender in the league.

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