Jeanie Buss, the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss who took over after his death in 2013, doesn’t expect another player to replicate Kobe Bryant’s most honorable feat.
The lakers owner is Jeanie Buss who doesn’t expect another player to replicate Kobe Bryant’s most honorable feat.
Buss, Jeanie, the governor of the Los Angeles Lakers, will never forget what Kobe Bryant accomplished for her and her family over the course of almost 25 years.
In his two decades with the Lakers, Bryant won five championships and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year. Buss, on the other hand, continues to laud the 18-time All-Star for a career statistic that has little to do with per-game statistics.
Today’s players, according to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss (R), are unlikely to spend their whole careers with one club, like Kobe Bryant did. | David Livingston/Getty Images
Bryant began his career in the NBA in 1996 and retired in April 2016. In a Lakers jersey, he appeared in all 1,346 regular-season games and 220 postseason games.
Buss said in a recent interview with The Athletic that she thinks Bryant’s commitment to the club signaled the end of an era. She doesn’t think that contemporary NBA players will spend their whole careers with one club, particularly in an era of mega-contracts and superteams.
“It’ll be very uncommon to witness anything like that. It’s simply the nature of the collective bargaining agreement; it allows for a lot more mobility than previously. And I believe it has increased participation in the summer by making the league more intriguing and balanced… There were so many headlines [during the NBA’s free agency period] that we were compared to the Olympics.”
Of course, Bryant has shown interest in being traded by the Lakers at times throughout his career. There was a time in 2007 when it seemed like Bryant, who went on to win the NBA MVP Award later that year, would join the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers, on the other hand, retained their famous shooting guard and went on to win two championships in the following three years.
In the NBA, Udonis Haslem is one of the last of a vanishing breed.
In the NBA, players moving clubs, particularly towards the conclusion of their careers, is nothing new. Karl Malone, a Utah Jazz icon, played his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003-04. In the early 2000s, Michael Jordan came out of retirement to play two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
Basketball fans, on the other hand, witnessed legends like John Stockton of the Jazz and Reggie Miller of the Pacers spend their whole careers with one team. Warriors fans may view Stephen Curry, who turned 33 in March, in the same light.
Aside from that, today’s players are more inclined to emulate Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant, both of whom have won championships, rather than Bryant. Udonis Haslem, a Miami Heat player who has been with the club since 2003 and is practically a coach at this point, would rather retire than accept a trade somewhere.
What about the rest of it? Damian Lillard has been a member of the Portland Trail Blazers since 2012, although in recent years he has been connected to trade speculations. In the 2012 NBA Draft, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was selected three selections ahead of Lillard.
Maybe Giannis Antetokounmpo (who has been with the Milwaukee Bucks since 2013) and Devin Booker (who was chosen by the Phoenix Suns in 2015) may encourage future players to only play for one club. However, it’s understandable that Buss and many supporters at home are dubious.
Some athletes in baseball and hockey are continuing the trend.
Buss has every reason to doubt that the greatest basketball players, assuming they play for at least 15 seasons, would stay with the same team for the rest of their careers. Baseball and hockey are both attempting to maintain the trend.
Joey Votto, the first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, is in his 15th season and has never played for a team other than the Reds. The Cardinals have two players, catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright, who both joined the club in 2004 and 2005 and have never departed. Wainwright, on the other hand, spent his first four minor league seasons with the Atlanta Braves, so you decide if he counts.
Ryan Zimmerman, the first baseman for the Washington Nationals, has been with the club for so long that he was the franchise’s first draft selection in 2005, only months after the team relocated from Montreal. Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees both made their MLB debuts in 2008 and had only played for their respective clubs once as of publication.
The NHL is far more tolerant of the tendency. 11 players remained active and have played at least 15 seasons solely for one club until the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, headed by Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron-Cleary and Los Angeles Kings star Dustin Brown. Bergeron and Brown both joined the league in 2003-04 and have never departed.
What about the NFL? Perhaps Patrick Mahomes will end up doing what Tom Brady and Peyton Manning failed to achieve.
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Michael Jordan was asked to choose between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and his response was exactly what you’d expect.
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