Should Kobe Bryant Retire From The NBA? Lakers Star Continues To Underperform In His Worst Season Start Ever

Los Angeles shooting guard Kobe Bryant may be among the best to ever play in the NBA, but his latest setback on Tuesday night is a testament to how bad he’s been playing since the season began.

During the Lakers’ 111-77 loss to the undefeated Golden State Warriors, Bryant, 37, shot only one out of 14, or 7 percent from the field. What’s sadder is that a few of those missed shots didn’t hit anything.

This makes Kobe Bryant the first ever Lakers player in the last 19 years to score four points or fewer after 14 attempts in a game. Not exactly a decent record for Bryant’s stellar career, but he took it like a man nonetheless.

“I’m not really worried about it, honestly,” Kobe Bryant said after the game. “My shooting will be better. I could’ve scored 80 tonight. It wouldn’t have made a damn difference.”

In addition, Bryant said that the Lakers squad has its own bigger problems, such as learning how to play as a team. He said that they should learn to “play systematically” in order to keep them in ball games.

On the Black Mamba’s 20th year in the league, he’s been averaging a career-worst 31.1 percent on the floor, and 19.5 percent on three-pointers. His scoring has dipped as well at only 15.2 points, which is his lowest since his rookie season. Last year, Kobe Bryant did not shoot that well either, with a 37.3 field goal percentage and 29.3 from beyond the arc in 35 games. While he still averaged 22.3 points a game, that was still lower than the 27.3 points he put out during his last uninjured season in 2012-13.

“I freaking suck,” he said about his disappointing performance.

However, Lakers coach Byron Scott still believes in the 17-time NBA All-Star, who helped the Lakers grab five championships in 2000-2002 and 2009-2010.

“I’ve got faith in Kobe that he’ll be OK, but [Tuesday night] he was really struggling,” Scott said of Bryant.

Still, Scott said he would prefer that Bryant not shoot as many threes as he has done in the past few games. He wants him to take shots from his “sweet spots,” although he gave credit to rival teams who have done a good job of defending against him.

However, not everyone is optimistic that Bryant could still turn back the hands of time and play at a high level for the Lakers.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith announced on Twitter that Kobe should not wait until the season ends.

Smith believes that Bryant cannot do anything right now for the Lakers, especially in the very competitive Western Conference. The Lakers are sitting at a woeful 2-12 at the bottom of the conference and Kobe cannot do anything about it.

In addition, Complex’s Russ Bengtson sent an open letter to Bryant to call for his retirement.

“Honestly, the best thing you could do – for your body, for your mind, for your family – is just to pack up that Staples Center locker, take the helicopter back to the coast, and start enjoying life as a former NBA player,” Bengtson said in the letter.

“It’s not worth it anymore,” he added.

Even before the season began, it was widely believed that the 2015-16 season would be his last.

Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss said during the summer that the management expects Bryant to hang up his jersey by the end of the season.

However, he said that it does not depend on them to make the decision whether Bryant will play or retire.

“It’s not my decision, it’s his decision,” he said.

[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]