A lot of parallels can be drawn between the recent performances of both Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, two legends of sport who are nearing the end of their respective careers.
Battling age and chronic injury, Bryant announced this week that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season after 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers. Also battling age and chronic injury, Woods has not yet addressed retirement. But at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, a tournament he hosts, Woods spoke about Bryant’s career and retirement, and he sounded eerily like he was talking about his own situation.
“Twenty years in the NBA is more than 20 years in most sports,” said Woods during a press conference. “At [Bryant’s] position — I mean he was a flyer — you only have so many jumps in the body, and on top of that only so many landings. The last three years he’s gone through some pretty tough injuries. He’s also been as durable as durable gets. On top of that he played both ends of the court. He played two Olympic teams, all the qualifiers. The guy played a lot of basketball.
“Five rings, I believe, maybe seven Finals or something like that. You add up all those games, it takes a toll on the body. And eventually, it just doesn’t heal anymore. That sport is so fast and so athletic and so quick. It’s just tough. It’s been tough to watch him go through the season he’s had. And understandably so, he’s been there for 20 years.”
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A lot of this applies to Woods’ downfall over the course of the past few years, and it’s finally starting to sound as though the 14-time major champion has come to terms with his accomplishments, realizing that his current record may be his final record. Woods may not yet be ready to announce retirement, but if his candid assessment of Bryant retiring is any indication, it certainly has him thinking.