Kobe Bryant

While there have been some valid criticisms of Kobe Bryant one thing can never be argued is his intense desire to win.
While this is not exactly a surprise, a true end of an era will be happening.  37 year old Los Angeles Laker, Shooting Guard, Kobe Bryant has announced on the Player’s Tribune website that this will be his final season in the National Basketball Association.

Citing that his body “knows it’s time to say goodbye”, Bryant is entering the end of a two year contract, and it was not necessarily a given that the Lakers would like to resign him, though with the recent news, the official farewell tour can begin.

Bryant has nothing left to prove as he has won the MVP once, the NBA Championship five times, was named an All Star seventeen times, two Olympic Gold medals and at third overall in scoring, Bryant is having his worst statistical season and has obviously lost a step or two.  “The Black Mamba” has been plagued with injuries over the last few seasons and the mileage over the past twenty years, including the NBA Playoffs and International participation, the toll of the game has finally caught up.

Kobe will go down as a locked in first ballot Hall of Fame entry and will enter the Hall in 2022, barring any decision to go back on this decision.

Let’s enjoy the final ride for Kobe, and let’s hope it is a good one!

Farewell Kobe

This is one of those times where it really feels like an end of an era.

The Kobe Bryant retirement tour has come to an official end and honestly we don’t know what we can say that hasn’t been said already. 

There is nobody who watched Kobe Bryant play that couldn’t agree that he didn’t want to win more than anything else in the world.  Bryant was the Los Angeles Lakers for years and was arguably the most recognizable athlete in the world at one time. 

History will paint him as one of the top ten basketball players of all-time and his final seasons brought life to what was an awful campaign for the Lakers; certainly not the way that he, or any of us for that matter had ever imagined, though yet his final game, a matchup against the Utah Jazz that has zero playoff implications will take precedence in a day where the Golden State Warriors are going for history trying to break the record for the most wins in a season and the opening games of the NHL Playoffs.

Bryant is a first ballot hall of famer and a certified winner.  What will he do next?

We don’t know, but betting against him isn’t an option.

We have been expecting this day all week.

Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves announced his retirement over his Instagram page.  This will conclude a productive 21 Year Career in which the big man Farragut Academy would cement a legacy as one of the most intense and defensive minded players of all time.

Garnett came into the NBA as the first high school player in twenty years and while many were concerned that a player out of high school could not make the jump to the NBA, though Garnett quickly silenced those critics and opened the door for high schoolers (for better or for worse) to enter the elite professional rank without having to go to college.

Drafted 5th overall in 1995 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 7’ 1” Garnett would make Minnesota a credible team and for many a must watch in the league.  KG would become an All Star 15 times, capture First Team All-Defensive honors 9 times and make the First Team All-NBA squad four times.  He would also win the Rebounding title four times. 

Seemingly on his shoulders, Garnett would take the T-Wolves to the playoffs multiple times but lacked the help to take them deep into the playoffs.  A shocking trade to the Boston Celtics would put together a team good enough to win the NBA Championship in 2008.  Garnett would later be traded to the New Jersey Nets and would come back to Minnesota to finish out his professional career.

Kevin Garnett will be eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021, the same year that Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan become eligible. 

Can you imagine that Hall of Fame Class?

We can, and are planning our trip to Springfield already!
As always, we here at Notinhalloffame.com have been diligently working on expanding our website, and we have a small addition to our Basketball section, the 2021 Basketball Futures.

As many of you know, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has reduced the eligibility wait by one year, thus making everyone eligible five years after their career ends in the National Basketball Association. 

We know this much.  Once you take a look at the group that is eligible and see the three certain first ballot Hall of Famers, perhaps you will wish to join us on our pilgrimage to Springfield, Massachusetts in 2021!

The 2021 Future Eligible Basketball Players are: 

Tim Duncan, a Center from St. Croix who would play his entire career with the San Antonio Spurs.  Duncan was a ten time First Team All NBA Selection, a five time NBA Champion and a two time MVP.

Mo Williams, a one time All Star with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kobe Bryant, a ferocious scorer who took the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA Championships.  He is also a one time NBA MVP and eleven time First Team All Pro Selection. 

Kevin Garnett, a prep to star player who helped the Boston Celtics win the NBA Championship and WAS the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Garnett is a former NBA MVP and four time First Team All NBA Selection.

Elton Brand, a two time All Star.

Amar’e Stoudemire, a six time All Star who would be named to an All-NBA team five times.

Duncan, Bryant and Garnett?  All three of them will (and better) enter the Basketball Hall of Fame on their first go and if they don’t the entire institution should be blown up.

Realistically, we are not worried about that not happening and are assuming that this will be one of the greatest trios to enter the Hall of Fame together. 
The Los Angeles Lakers have announced what many of us have long suspected they would do, they will be retiring the numbers 8 and 24 of Kobe Bryant this season. It is notable that he played ten seasons for Los Angeles in both numbers.

An All Star for 18 of his 20 seasons, Bryant retired ranked third all-time in Points and was named to 11 1st Team All-NBA rosters. More importantly, he is a five time NBA Champion.

Like Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers will retire his number before his eventual Hall of Fame induction.

Bryant becomes the 10th player in Lakers history to have his number retired. He joins Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).

We here at Notinhalloffame.com will definitely be watching when it occurs!
In four years Kobe Bryant will be eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and there is little doubt as to whether he is going in on the first ballot. He is. There is also no question that despite what should be a loaded class with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett also likely going in, that he will be the headliner.

The only question really is who will induct him, so it was not a surprise when he was asked by Complex as to who he would have as the inductor:

"In terms of who might present, for me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson. They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help."

Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest player of all-time and while Kobe has entered that discussion for some, the two only have greatness in common as they never played with each other nor has Bryant played for Jordan. Phil Jackson however is another story.

Jackson coached Bryant in Los Angeles where the duo would win five NBA Titles. The coach/player was not always a pleasant one as Jackson ripped Bryant in his book, which was released during his hiatus calling him “uncoachable”. Still, when thinking of who would be the best person to induct Kobe it is hard to think of a better choice.

The countdown is on!
As we methodically put together our all-time Top 50 of every team from the big four of American sports, the next goal will be to look at how each franchise honors their past players. As such it is significant news to us that this evening the Los Angeles Lakers will be retiring both the #8 and #24 of Kobe Bryant, which will mark the first time in a major North American sport where two numbers were retired in honor of one player.

This is perfectly fitting, as Bryant’s performance wearing both numbers is more than good enough to warrant retirement.

In what is now considered a lopsided trade. The Charlotte Hornets traded their 1996 13th overall pick (Bryant) for Vlade Divac. Bryant took #8 and before long he was multi-time All Star and along with Shaquille O’Neal would be part of three NBA Titles. Following the split between Shaq & Kobe, Bryant looked for a fresh start in the 2006-07 season, and he adopted #24, the same number he wore in Prep.

The overall results were pretty much the same as Bryant would again go to many All Star Games and would again win the NBA Title twice, though as #24 he would also win the Scoring Title twice. Actually, the results were scarily similar. Bryant scored only 89 more Points as #8 and 10 less Assists and regardless of what number he wore, he was regarded as one of the best.

Out of respect, the Golden State Warriors stayed out for the ceremony.

We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to congratulate Kobe Bryant on this latest honor and we will see him soon as a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
This isn’t meant to be scientific.

We here at Notinhalloffame.com thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.

Needless to say, different awards in different sports yield hall of fame potential.  In basketball, the team sport with the least amount of players on a roster, the dividend for greatness much higher.  In baseball, it is not as much as a great individual season does not have the same impact.