The idea that Kobe Bryant would play beyond this season always was rooted in his competitiveness — he wanted to get ring No. 6 so badly he would be willing to take far less money and be the third (or fourth) option on a contender to get it.
Nope. Kobe is going to retire a Laker at the end of the season. That means no ring No. 6. (I think we can safely put the 3-16 Lakers out of the title contender category, not that they were ever in it.) Kobe was asked how he is going to accept finishing one shy of Michael Jordan, and here is his response via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
As I have written before, the most stunning part of Kobe’s announcement to those of us there last Sunday was how at peace he was with the decision. Kobe had made a career out of overcoming obstacles — and inventing obstacles in his mind for motivation if needed. To see him accept that he could not clear this hurdle, that it was time to walk away, was surprising.
Part of that acceptance has to be no more rings. Although the handful he’s got should help him get over it.