Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss has revealed that next season will be a “celebration” of Kobe Bryant’s career as it will be his last in the NBA.
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The Lakers veteran missed a significant part of this year with a shoulder injury and it was the third straight season that he has been forced to see his season cut short.
However, with rehabilitation going well after surgery, Bryant is expected to return in time for training camp ahead of next season and will hopefully leave with an impact on the team’s fortunes in his last year in the league.
According to Buss, she knows that the end of the Bryant era is coming in Los Angeles and she hopes that next year will be well remembered by all concerned.
“I look at this season as a celebration of his 20 years with the Lakers,” she told Bleacher Report Radio, as reported by Pro Basketball Talk.
Despite protests from the 36-year-old against having a ‘victory lap’ type send off next season, it is highly likely that he will get one as although he was loathed by many of the team’s rivals over the years, there is no denying his place in the NBA history books as one of the greatest players to grace the league.
However, there is a negative aspect to the comment as ultimately the Lakers will need to make significant improvements this summer in order to compete, and Bryant shouldn’t be a distraction to that commitment.
The franchise is expected to make big moves in free agency to go with their Draft pick, and so Bryant will hope to have the support he needs around him to leave with some fond memories before hanging up his sneakers for good.