As you know by now, Kobe Bryant has announced that this season will be his last in the NBA. Players from past and present are reacting with the usual reverence over a 20 season career that marks the end of an era.

One player who is paying Kobe his respects is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. When Bryant started his career, the Thunder were in Seattle, but then as the team moved to the Sooner State, Kobe’s Lakers and Durant’s Thunder established a very good rivalry. And provided the Lakers don’t make the playoffs this season (very likely), Bryant’s last playoff game will have been against the Thunder in 2012.

Asked for his reaction, Durant told The Oklahoman that he grew up idolizing Bryant and wanted to be like him. And he scolded the media for not treating the man with the proper respect (we put in bold for emphasis):

“I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael toward the end of his career with the Wizards and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us. I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys (media) treated him like shit. He’s a legend and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting, time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like shit and I didn’t really like it. Hopefully now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated. He had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Someone I’m always gonna look to advice for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. Sad to see him go. He put his mark on the game.”

Certainly Durant is entitled to his opinion, but Kobe has certainly been paid his respect throughout the years. And while the NBA looks to move forward from the Kobe era, it certainly will look back on his years with the utmost respect.

[The Oklahoman]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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