When over half of your life has been playing NBA basketball, it has to be strange to wake up the next day knowing that your career is over. Such was reality for Kobe Bryant as he woke up Thursday morning. There was no training to go to (although he probably worked out somewhere). There was no preparation for next season with the Lakers. And there was no waiting and watching to see what moves the organization would make to improve the roster. Now Kobe has to get used to the reality of not playing anymore. And of course he gets to do some things that he has probably never had time to do before. But if anyone knows Kobe, he definitely is a competitor even if he is not playing the sport he loves. Many wonder what he has going on next. He did speak of getting up and going into the office in his press conference after his last game. For those that don’t know, he has his own company, Kobe, Inc., that is invested in BodyArmor natural sports drink and The Players’ Tribune with Derek Jeter. His company will keep him busy, but there may be something else that could occupy his time. Recently, TNT reached out to Kobe to see if he wanted to join their broadcast team. ESPN is also reportedly reaching out to Bryant as well. It isn’t known whether he will accept either offer, but which one would be the better fit for him?
If he were go to Turner Sports, he would likely be paired with his former Lakers teammate, Shaquille O’ Neal, along with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson on the NBA on TNT set most of the time. Without Kobe, they have had tons of success captivating fans and entertaining us all. With Kobe, there would be five people on the set, which would be a little much for television. That many folks on the set has to make you wonder if someone will be exiting if that arrangement is made. But other than the look of the set with Kobe there, the good thing for Kobe is that he can ease into the action knowing that he is working with a laid-back and entertaining crew that likes to have fun. The fit would be something that would suit him and would allow him to showcase more of his personality. But the bad thing about all this is the location of Turner Studios. Kobe has pretty much been away from home for most of his career. And in retirement, surely his kids would be excited about getting to see him more. But if he takes this job, then he will be gone more than expected in retirement. Although his kids and family are used to it at this point, it may not be something that he wants to do since it takes him so far away every week.
The prospects at TNT are definitely good for Kobe, but let’s take a look at the fit at ESPN. Bryant would fit in well with Sage Steele, Jalen Rose and crew talking basketball. And he could not only do NBA on ESPN, but he could appear on ESPN radio along with other NBA and sports shows should he choose to. He would have access to multiple platforms to talk basketball. And along with having multiple platforms, he would also get to stay closer to home. ESPN has its NBA on ESPN set right across the street from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and has studios in Los Angeles. That would allow Kobe to be able to spend time with his family while not having to travel across country to work like he would have to for TNT. But with all the good things that ESPN can offer, there are a few drawbacks. ESPN coverage for the NBA has not been as highly regarded or as entertaining as the Turner Network broadcasts. And with Kobe’s stature in the game, he may be asked to come in and be a star in the business as soon as he gets there. That may not be something that Kobe is ready for as he is adjusting to life as an analyst.
Kobe Bryant may make his announcement soon, but he has to make a choice that fits him better. Can he go to Atlanta, join the Turner Sports family and leave his family in Atlanta? Or does he want to stay home and join the ESPN cast? It will be interesting to see which offer he accepts either or if he is content to run his business and come home to his wife and kids every night. But we all know Kobe is not afraid of taking on challenges and being an analyst would definitely be one for him.