It's officially almost the end now. Kobe Bryant has announced (via the Player's Tribune) that he will retire following the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. The NBA's third all-time leading scorer will hang up his Nike's after his 20th season with the Los Angeles Lakers concludes.
The NBA is often referred to as a brotherhood. Even though all the players in it are some of the biggest competitors on the planet, during moments like this you can see that those around the league truly care for their kindred spirits and fellow basketball brothers.
When Bryant posted his poem announcing this would be his last season, social media was set ablaze with fans reacting to the finality of the news, and they were not the only ones. Bryant's wife, his current and former teammates, his coach, longtime competitors, the director of USA Basketball, and even the NBA commissioner posted on social media to congratulate Bryant on what will surely be a first ballot Hall of Fame career:
Byron Scott on Kobe's decision to retire: "Sad. We talked about it last night. I told him it kind of shocked me when he told me."— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 30, 2015
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells https://t.co/EXInXOMads that Kobe Bryant remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 30, 2015
Kobe is the greatest competitor I have ever faced. I am glad he's found peace, I don't know if we ll see another like him. Enjoy the last 66— Shane Battier (@ShaneBattier) November 30, 2015
One of the most under appreciated players to ever play is saying goodbye to the game he gave his all!... https://t.co/BOi32TOJQS— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) November 30, 2015
Brandon Bass noted how much it means to him to have played w/Kobe, Pierce, KG, Ray, & Dirk, plus 2 historic franchises (LAL, BOS). AK— Kamenetzky Brothers (@KamBrothers) November 30, 2015
Kobe Bryant, Slam dunk giant, https://t.co/8fZE0HSkm1— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) November 30, 2015
Lakers fans are getting a letter from Kobe Bryant. Just watched Metta World Peace get his signed from Kobe. #love— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 30, 2015
Paul George on Kobe: "He's still my idol regardless of him aging and his game changing. ...I'm going to cherish this matchup."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) November 30, 2015
Now that everyone has said thank you, hopefully Kobe can give us one last:
Congratulations Kobe, from everyone here at Silver Screen and Roll and Lakers fans worldwide.