By Ryan Fitzgerald – Sports Editor
It is truly a changing of the guard in professional sports. Boston Red Sox hero David Ortiz recently announced he will be retiring from baseball at the end of next season and Kobe Bryant just claimed this will be his final season in the NBA.
We saw our era’s face of baseball Derek Jeter retire just a year ago, and other iconic stars like Allen Iverson left the game for good in the past five years.
It’s a very weird feeling for me. I look at the new athletes coming into the pros and many of them are the same age as I am, or even younger. NBA rookies Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns are 19 and 20, respec- tively, (both younger than myself ), and lead a new cast of athletes entering the league. Towns was actually born on the same day teammate Kevin Garnett was drafted (another player I grew up watching).
As a kid, I idolized guys like Ortiz, Jeter, Bryant, and Iverson, especially. They were the reason I became interested in sports. I spent countless hours in my driveway trying to master Iverson’s crossover, or replicate Kobe’s classic turnaround jumper.
They were larger than life. Seeing them reach their end, seeing that magical flair they used to play with fade away is strange and sad. But rather than being sad, I want to reflect on the amazing careers they had. I thank them for the inspiration they gave me, and others all over the world.