Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports

As the saying goes, “Father Time is undefeated” and Kobe Bryant is finding that out first-hand this season, his 20th in the NBA. Bryant is having, by far, the worst season of his career. Entering play Saturday, Bryant’s field goal percentage and three-point percentage both rank dead last among all qualified players. His real plus-minus, according to ESPN, ranks 381st in a league that boasts about 400 total players. By the statistics, the Black Mamba has gone from one of the best players in NBA history to, arguably, the worst player in the league.

Fans are noticing, the media is noticing, and opposing players are noticing with a first-hand view. One anonymous player even went as far as to call Kobe’s play ‘disgusting’ in an interview with the LA Times:

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting. He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

A former player who faced Bryant many times during his career doesn’t think Bryant has the perspective to see how poorly he’s looked out on the court this season:

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do. He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

Those players didn’t want to attach their names to the quotes out of respect they have for Kobe. However, Charles Barkley wasn’t as bashful and bluntly stated when he knew it was time to retire:

“Somebody asked me how I knew it was time to retire. I said because I was pump-faking. So now I see Kobe and he’s pump-faking because he’s scared they are going to block his shot. That’s what the pump-faking is. People are knocking your shot into the stands…Kobe can’t get open shots. He can’t go around people to get layups. It’s hard to make contested shots.”

After a career-worst shooting performance (1 for 14) vs. the Golden State Warriors, several Warriors players who grew up as fans of Kobe, seemed sad at watching one of their idols perform this terribly. Here is what Bay Area News columnist Marcus Thompson tweeted after the game:

It’s pretty eerie how similar Kobe’s season and Peyton Manning’s season have mirrored each other. However, it’s downright sad that both players are possibly thinking about coming back next season. As another famous saying goes: “The athlete himself is always the last one to know.”

Ross Kelly is an Associated Producer for CBS Local Sports. He is from Louisiana and is a fan of all sports, but not of any teams (except LSU). He can be reached at