By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
Since announcing his retirement from basketball via a poem for the Players Tribune last week, he’s received plenty of responses from fans and players wishing him the best. Now, Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is getting in on the act. Jabbar, who writes a regular column for Time.com, penned a poem to “retirement” asking it to treat Kobe as well as it has treated him. Here’s a short excerpt:
“Dear Retirement from Basketball,
(for Kobe Bryant)
You don’t suck, retirement. I thought
You would. With no crowds to cheer.
No competitors to pump addicting adrenalin every day.
No satisfying sound of the ball swooshing through the net
Like a melon through silk.
No frown of frustration on your opponents’ faces.
No salty smell of victory as exhausted bodies
rush to the locker room.
I was wrong.
You gave me other gifts I wasn’t expecting. That final year
when each city I visited showered me with glory and gifts
and pure love. The fans cheered, stomped feet, battered hands,
not because I was scoring points in one last game,
but because they wished me well on whatever I did next.”
The poem goes on to tell offer Bryant advice about finding himself off the court. Telling him to find “a new Kobe” and that retirement is really just “passing from one room into another”.
Kobe and the Lakers take the floor for the next stop in his farewell tour tonight in Atlanta against the Hawks. Tip off is set for 8 pm.