Kobe Bryant announced he will retire at the end of this NBA season. Twenty years, more than 1,300 games, 45,000-plus minutes, 33,000 points on over 11,000 buckets, five titles, one MVP, seventeen-times an All-Star, and the man who delivered thousands of scowls on the court. One heart in demand of greatness; one competitor craving competition.
But now Kobe readies for the greatest challenge of his life: leaving the game of basketball.
Source: Flickr, creative commons
Just to set the record straight, I never played pro sports. To consider myself a “has been” would be a compliment; I’m barely a “never was.” I hobbled through two and a half injury-plagued seasons of college track at Princeton before I quit, claiming the collective frustration and residual pain of two high school knee reconstructions (and a third surgery in college) had eroded my ability to compete. The truth is that I quit because my ego couldn’t handle the sting of being only an average runner, but that’s a story for another time.
The point today is simply to say that I don’t presume to know anything about the pain you’re feeling or the frustration ripping through your body, frustration that cuts sharper than any slice to your Achilles coming from the cruel hand of God or fate. But what I do know about is athletic heartbreak. And it sucks. (more…)