Most NBA fans think Bryant retired at the right time, but a third say he waited too long to retire
At the end of November Kobe Bryant announced that he would be retiring from professional basketball at the end of this season. Over the past 20 seasons he has only ever played for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he has supported since childhood. He is a five-time NBA champion, the third highest scorer ever in the NBA, and won the MVP award in 2008, but the past two years have seen his performance suffer after a number of injuries. Off the court he has also faced issues, most notably his 2003 arrest for sexual assault in Colorado - charges which were dropped a year later.
Research from YouGov shows that most NBA fans (53%) support Kobe Bryant's decision to retire from professional basketball. Just over a third (36%), however, say that he waited too long to retire from the sport.
A large majority of basketball fans (60%) have a favorable opinion of Kobe Bryant, though 32% have a negative opinion of him. Among the wider public half aren't sure what they think of him, but among those with an opinion attitudes tend to be unfavorable (27%) rather than favorable (23%).
One explanation for this relative lack of wider popularity may be because while only 21% of Americans follow the NBA or consider themselves a fan, 63% of the country remember his arrest for sexual assault in 2003. Most (51%) who remember the allegations say that they were probably true and only 23% who are aware of his arrest do not think he sexually assaulted someone.