Legendary Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant is hanging up his sneakers after this season, he announced in a poem.
“He is singularly focused on basketball. That level of focus keeps him at a distance from a lot of people,” Shelburne told SI. “Yes, he forms friendships with players around the league, but they are the ‘mutual admiration’ kind of friendships.”
Charles Barkley has previously talked about leaving sports broadcasting when his contract with Turner Sports is up in 2016, according to SI. Bryant has been suggested as an obvious replacement.
Shortly after his announcement Sunday, other analysts and writers agreed Bryant going behind the broadcast desk was the obvious next move.
He’s never expressed interest in a post-broadcasting career but Kobe Bryant would be a cant-miss analyst if he opted for that gig.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) November 30, 2015
“He’s obviously smart and articulate and he would be a great candidate,” Craig Barry, Turner Sports senior vice president and executive creative director told SI in January. “But like any job there is a certain amount of passion that the person needs to have for the day to day. That element of passion and wanting to share the game is a huge part of being able to connect with the viewer.”
Basketball/ broadcasting’s version of “Party of 5″ Wonder if TNT goes after Kobe to join Shaq (interesting) , Kenny, Charles and EJ?
— chuck swirsky (@ctsbulls) November 30, 2015. Swirsky raises an interesting thought — Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal back together again.
Following his retirement in 2011, O’Neal became an analyst for Turner Sports, often working with Barkley and Ernie Johnson Jr. O’Neal, never shy in front of the camera even when he was a player, has also hosted Saturday Night Live.
The duo had a feud for years dating back to their days in L.A., but it has, for the most part, subsided.
O’Neal, who has more than 10 million followers, tweeted Monday morning about Kobe’s news with a kind message.
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) November 30, 2015
Over his 19-year career, Bryant has won an impressive five NBA championships and two gold medals from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. And that’s not even mentioning his countless endorsements and TV appearances on late night talk shows.
And while he did not comment on the matter in his retirement announcement — although he did say Sunday after the Lakers’ game “I’m a storyteller. I love, love, love storytelling” — sports writers and analysts think Bryant would be right at home alongside them, breaking down the game he loves.
“If he chose to do it he’d be incredible,” ESPN Los Angeles senior writer Ramona Shelburne told Sports Illustrated in January. “He’s sarcastic, smart, insightful, fearless.”
Shelburne, who has covered the Lakers since 2003, said Bryant may not be the typical personality for pre- and post-game coverage, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.