The basketball world is still reeling from the news of Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Here is a recap of how Bryant’s peers have responded. Watch Bryant’s retirement press conference video above.
The blockbuster announcement, published in the form of a poem on The Players’ Tribune website, has already injected millions of dollars into the resale ticket market across the country. “Within 10 minutes of Kobe’s announcement, we had thousands of inquiries and sales,” Harris Rosner, owner of Los Angeles-based VIP Tickets, told ESPN.com.
“This is definitely bigger than a guy like (Derek) Jeter and it’s bigger than (Michael) Jordan in the sense that Jordan was always so wishy-washy no one ever knew if it would really be the end,” said Patrick Ryan, co-owner of The Ticket Experience.
NBA.com currently has a poll asking fans if Kobe is the greatest Laker of all time.
Laker fans who attended the game against Indiana Pacers Sunday night at Staples Center were gifted a letter from the man himself, in a black envelope embossed with gold. “What you’ve done for me is far greater than anything I’ve done for you,” Bryant wrote in the letter addressed to fans.
Kobe's retirement announcement that's being distributed to fans at the door tonight: pic.twitter.com/JQbqwRXdj5
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) November 30, 2015
Meanwhile, Metta World Peace interacted with his longtime teammate the old-fashioned way: by getting his autograph.
Magic Johnson, Laker legend, paid the ultimate tribute to Kobe by hailing him as the “closest thing we’ve seen since Michael Jordan.”
Johnson told Yahoo Sports, “He’ll probably go down as the second greatest scoring guard. You couldn’t stop him. His will to win was incredible and he stayed in the gym like no other. This guy was 24/7 basketball. I’m happy for him because he said he feels this is his time to go out. He’s going out the way he wants to go out.”
Many of Bryant’s former teammates and NBA colleagues paid glowing tributes:
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) November 30, 2015
Hard to believe @kobebryant is finally going to hang it up. One of the NBA's great champions. Enjoy the rest of this season my friend.
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) November 30, 2015
— Hassan Whiteside (@youngwhiteside) November 30, 2015
One of the most under appreciated players to ever play is saying goodbye to the game he gave his all!… https://t.co/BOi32TOJQS
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) November 30, 2015
— Ricky Rubio (@rickyrubio9) November 30, 2015
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) November 30, 2015
Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers General manager, felt Bryant would be able to enjoy the season after the announcement. “Clearly we’re not playing at the kind of level that a player of Kobe’s age and experience finds challenging, kind of like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I think the game will be easier for him now. I think he’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the season.”