Basketball isn’t going to have its own version of the Derek Jeter farewell tour. While Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant has already announced that he’s retiring at the end of the season, and while that’s created a ticket-sales boost for both home and away games involving the Lakers, Bryant has said he doesn’t want to have on-court ceremonies or gift presentations from opposing teams:
Kobe has requested not to have any on-court ceremonies or gift presentations from opposing NBA teams. He does not want to detract from game.
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 4, 2015
As fun as it might be to see what various NBA teams could come up with for Bryant (surely someone can top the vacation in a Banff castle, or the personalized cowboy boots), and particularly whatever Mark Cuban had in mind, this makes some sense. Jeter’s farewell tour became so outsized and so distracting, and it raised questions about why similarly-skilled or better players didn’t receive their own city-by-city farewell. Bryant’s farewell games are going to be memorable enough in their own right; we don’t need to see him given personalized guitars or paddleboards. That also should help the Lakers keep their focus on the court, as long as Bryant doesn’t have any more surprises for coach Byron Scott during the game…