Venice students were disappointed with the news that Los Angeles Lakers’ star, Kobe Bryant, at 37 years old, announced his decision in November to retire from his professional basketball career at the end of the 2015-2016 National Basketball Association (NBA) season.
Venice sophomore Santiago Gomez, a frosh/soph player on the Venice boys’ basketball team, was greatly impacted by the decision.
“I was really sad and upset,” said Gomez. “He’s my childhood hero.”
Bryant, in his 20 years of playing professionally, led his team to five NBA championships. He has broken NBA records since 1996 according to nba.com. Bryant has a high chance of having one or both of his jerseys in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame hung up. The question is whether his early No. 8 or his No. 24 jersey should be put in.
“I am ready to let you go,” wrote Bryant in a poem about retiring reported on ESPN.com.
Childhood fan and JV player on the Venice boys’ basketball team, sophomore Monet Garret was also disappointed to see Bryant leave the team.
“It’s sad to see one of the greatest to retire, many have learned from his style of basketball,” said Garret.
Junior Amy Koshimizu who plays on the girls’ Venice basketball team, felt upset at the NBA star’s choice.
“I’m extremely disappointed that he is retiring,” said Koshimizu. “The Lakers will never be the same without him. He’ll always be one of the greats but it doesn’t seem like the time to retire, though he is aging.”
Though fans are sad to see Bryant leave, his legacy will live on.
“He has inspired many, there will never be another Kobe Bryant,” said Garret.