Kobe Bryant announced Sunday that he’ll retire after the season, and then we once again saw why Bryant’s leaving the NBA when his Los Angeles Lakers faced the Indiana Pacers that evening. Bryant shot just 4-of-20 overall, and although there was some late-game magic, his potential game-tying three-point attempt in the final seconds drew nothing but air. Airballs have been far too common for Kobe this year, and he’s barely shooting over 30 percent.
After the game, Kobe kept it real during a long press conference in which he reflected upon his whole career and what’s to come moving forward. With him struggling so much right now, he was asked why he didn’t just hang up the sneakers right now:
Kobe said he didn't consider retiring before the end of the season: "There's so much beauty in the pain of this thing."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 30, 2015
Kobe also revealed that Michael Jordan was one of the first people he talked to over the summer about retiring:
Kobe on MJ "He’s actually one fo the first people that I told over the summer."
What did Kobe say?
"This is it."
MJ: “Just enjoy it."
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) November 30, 2015
Bryant touched on a variety of other topics throughout the 20-plus minute presser. He told stories. He said his favorite moment was when he got drafted. He spoke in multiple languages. He said he’d be “honored” to play in the Olympics next summer, but he’s not “obsessing” over it. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN’s Marc Stein Sunday that Kobe will be under consideration for the squad.
This was an honest, reflective Kobe who simply realizes that his time is up. He’s given everything he has to basketball and can’t play at a high level anymore, so he’s at peace with his decision.