Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Whenever Kobe Bryant announced his retirement at season’s end last week, many fans began speculating what types of gifts and ceremonies would be handed out by opposing teams as Kobe made his last road stop in their arenas. As it turns out, those speculations won’t become anything more than that as Kobe, himself, as requested that his farewell tour be limited to private moments and standing ovations only. He doesn’t want teams to hold public ceremonies honoring his career or even receive gifts from opposing teams per Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
The 76ers were the first (and apparently will be the only) team that gave Bryant a gift as they presented him with a framed jersey from his high school of Lower Merion. But Bryant surely didn’t mind that gift as he is from the Philadelphia area and who’s going to turn down a gift from Dr. J?
You have to admire Kobe’s desire to just focus on the game itself, but this kind of takes away some of the fun from his retirement tour. I was looking forward to seeing what long-time rivals like San Antonio, Boston, and Sacramento would do for Bryant as he made his last stop in their cities. I still expect Popovich to do something when Kobe plays his final game in San Antonio.
On a side note, when Ding said that Kobe “doesn’t want to detract from the game,” that prompted a clever response from Twitter user @PtooE who said: “Kobe added that he’ll just continue to detract from the game with his play.”
Even though Kobe is calling it quits, his haters surely won’t.