Poor decisions, bad drafting, inept recruiting and the fact that other NBA superstars didn't want to play in the shadow of Kobe in the waning years of his career have all helped to build one big mess!
It wasn't Kobe's last big contract the problem as many observers thought, because the Lakers are drowning in money with their mega-lucrative local TV contract and could easily pay the luxury tax the way Cleveland does.
The problem was that after Dwight Howard decided to leave for Houston, no other superstar was willing to take the risk of a rebuilding project with an aging but proud Kobe Bryant running the show.
Why did Jim Buss choose Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson if it wasn't just to vanely prove that the Lakers' success was more thanks to management than to Jackson? Mike Brown and Byron Scott did no better and with the players at their disposition it's not a big surprise...
In the end, the disappointing and overdone farewell tour finished with an historic bang thanks to Kobe's gutsy performance. We thought he's was broken and hurting all over with those ice packs on every joint while he grimaced on the bench and we laughed when he pointed out the irony of a last game where everyone told him to shoot after a career where everyone told him to pass the ball.
Just imagine that if he had made only half of his 3pt. shots he would have scored 75 points! His former arch-enemy in numerous ego battles, Shaquille O'Neal, was present along with many celebrities but Kobe's parents were absent. This testifies to the complexity of his personality because after being considered a hated adversary with unlimited killer instinct by his opponents for many years, he was finishing his career in the role of the smiling, cuddly, long- lost uncle.
Finally, the star who loved to be hated ended up loving the love he received from all over the world. The real Kobe was somewhere in the middle, but let the truth be said, he was going to play second fiddle to no one!
So the question is,what is the third leading scorer of all-time going to do now? He owns a production company and "he wants to tell stories", and he could start with a biography of his own life and career because that was certainly a Hollywood ending!
Growing up in Italy and France, Kobe joined the NBA at 17 years old straight out of high school and has become an icon and fabulous promoter of basketball in China and around the world. The way he lived through and bounced back from accusations of rape and from a near-divorce are what movies are made of.
Like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, he has the drive, work ethic and financial ressources to make a big splash in business if he wants to and that wouldn't surprise me one bit. If he uses his worldwide notoriety to help charitable causes that would be great, too.
In any case, one thing is for sure, there will only be one Kobe Bryant and we were darn lucky to see him perform!