Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is one of the reasons Vince Carter was able to find peace in the end of his NBA career
The outpouring of love, support, and admiration for Bryant and his family following the tragic helicopter crash that killed him, his daughter, and seven others shows just that.
Bryant was a skillful scorer and a winner more than anything else. An 18-time All-Star, five-time champion, MVP, two-time Finals MVP, and two-time scoring champion, Bryant is a model of success in the NBA that peers and rivals alike strived to be like.
Bryant’s retirement — although unfortunately cut short — was also a model for what success looks like in a post-playing career, and is one that some players are still chasing after.
Speaking to Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on All the Smoke episode 38, Vince Carter talked about how Bryant helped him find peace in his upcoming retirement.
Vince Carter talks about how Lakers legend Kobe Bryant helped him find peace
Carter had a lot to say about how Bryant’s retirement process helped him find peace in the fact that his playing career was coming to an end.
“He looked at life different, and he just, all he wanted to do was for his kids, and he enjoyed coaching, and that helped me in my transition prepare for my retirement. Because in the beginning of the year, the couple games you came to in the beginning of the year, I couldn’t say, ‘retirement’ because I wasn’t ready to accept it.”
Bryant himself had a tough time accepting life after basketball and was motivated to make sure he was set up for a retirement that was rich and substantial. His Achilles’ injury forced him to face the reality of a post-playing career somewhat prematurely.
Carter was able to pick his brain and lean on some of the discoveries Bryant has made since retiring in 2016.
“We had that conversation and I’m like, bruh, if one of the dudes who was one of the best to do it, and just eat sleep and live winning can be at peace now, I can say, ‘retirement,’ because it’s going to be OK,” Carter said.
Carter had the opportunity to talk with two model players who recently entered their post-playing careers after over two decades of successful, title-winning careers.
“I got the opportunity to talk to [Kobe], I got the opportunity to talk to Dirk [Nowitzki], two guys that played 20-plus years and that just kind of put me at ease.”
Carter mentioned on the podcast that he’s operating under the assumption that he has played his last game. He and the Hawks were playing the night the NBA was abruptly halted upon news of Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test, and Lloyd Pierce put Carter in for the Hawks, knowing it may be his last opportunity to do so.
He’ll enter retirement with knowledge from Bryant on how to make the most of it all.