This is one of the most Kobe Bryant things ever: the Black Mamba doesn’t plan to tell us which season will be his last. Why? Because he wants to face the competition at their very best until the final seconds of his career.
In an interview with ESPN, Bryant revealed that he doesn’t want a “farewell tour” because he wants to play at the highest level until the very end:
One thing that’s certain is Bryant does not plan on announcing to the world when his final season is underway.
“I don’t know if I want a farewell tour because I want that competition,” said Bryant, who called himself a “dinosaur” following the recent retirements of Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. “I want the crowd being on top of you all the time. I wouldn’t want a farewell tour. No. I wouldn’t do that.”
While it would be pretty cool to see every away arena (as well as Staples, of course) honor Kobe in some way as he makes his final appearance there, you can see why he wants to keep his retirement details to himself. Not only would his pending retirement be a distraction during his final season, but he also wouldn’t face the best of the best every night.
Defenses might not compete as hard against him knowing it’s the last time they’ll face him – maybe they’d get too caught up in the moment of facing Kobe for the final time instead of actually guarding him – and crowds on the road may give him an easier ride as they realize that this is the last time they’ll see Bryant playing live before their eyes.
For his entire NBA career, Kobe Bryant has brought out the best in his opposition – which also brought out the best in him – and he wants it to be exactly like that right until the final whistle.
That’s so Kobe.