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Kobe's not going anywhere, ever.

Aug 28, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

Alongside his tasty little Voltron quote about the Heat, Kobe Bryant dropped another nugget soundbyte yesterday that bears repeating, if only as an admission of what we already know. As a guest of teammate Derek Fisher on Jim Rome is Burning, Bryant said that he was “99.9 sure” he is retiring as a Laker (via Dime). 

Shocking news, right?
Except that it’s a mark that puts him above other true greats. Think about how many elite players, players considered to be potential Hall of Famers didn’t get to finish on their terms? Shaquille O’Neal, for one, joining the Celtics when he would have jumped at an offer from the Lakeshow. Allen Iverson, still hoping someone will take a chance. Take a chance on the Answer! Hakeem Olajuwon in Toronto, the list goes on. But Bryant will get to finish where he started, on his terms, having never switched teams (despite wanting to at one point). That’s the mark of a true great. 
It also means we need to start looking at when that day comes and what it will mean. Bryant’s recently-signed-extension runs through 2014, when he’ll make $30 million at age 35. If he wins the next two championships, giving him seven, (completely within reason), he may want to walk away on top. But then, it’s Kobe, and walking away will feel like it’s on glass. Meanwhile, expect the Lakers to start looking for the next superstar to land, either through the draft or more likely, in free agency, to replace Bryant. The Lakers are unlikely to slip back into their late 90’s funk with the amount of talent they’ve stockpiled.
  1. Matt From Denver - Aug 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Even though I hate Kobe, – he’s to damn good – I think this is a smart move. We had LeBron and Bosh do something outrageous, and who knows what will come out of it. Rings? Drama? Whatever.
    So would it hurt for the rest of the NBA to follow Kobe’s lead? *Cough*MELO*Cough* But really, even if we lose Melo it’s whatever. Good luck to whatever team he goes to… they’ll love his defensive skills.

  2. Craig - Aug 28, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    No one remembers this
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/3446/kobe-bryant-says-he-d-like-to-be-traded

  3. CF98 - Aug 28, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Craig,
    People remember but that team was different then and the Lakers did what he wanted and they’ve been in the Finals ever since.
    Sure Kobe would want to leave if this team sucked but he’d never join Lebron or another superstar on his level to do it

  4. D - Aug 28, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Actually everyone remembers that and there’s even a mention of it in the very short story above that you didn’t bother to read.

  5. Salty - Aug 28, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Somebody great will be comming down the pipe but do the lakers have cap room with the team they have now. Somebody who makes alot of money will have to go.

  6. super size - Aug 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Just remember one thing, they are just black people, here to entertain us

  7. Phil - Aug 28, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Luke Walton begs to differ.

  8. Erick400 - Aug 28, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Kobe will retire as a Laker and I’m happy for him now
    he can be compare to Jordan’s legacy. Hope he gets more
    rings so we can witness a real KING.

  9. al_bonedigas - Aug 29, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Great comment…
    But would have been better had you misspelled a few words.
    …just to complete your ignorance.

  10. dball - Aug 29, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Kobe could have left as a free agent yet he stayed. That says it all. He’s a Laker stud and an Angels fan. It doesn’t get better than that.

  11. Brandan - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:21 AM

    Kobes legacy is good, one of the greatest in modern times. But as much as I like the idea of Kobe retiring as a Laker, I have to be honest about this, is avlot easier to come to the NBA to an already packed organization that end up winning rings right after you arrive than come to a team of nothing and build it from the ground. 3 out of Kobe’s 5 rings are really Shaq’s. That is a “what if” that will remain in the mind of true concient fans forever. If he didn’t have Shaq, Would the Lakers still win? Would he end up leaving LA in his own quest for a title? Not taking anything from him but he is not the right person to talk about stars teaming to get a ring, He had Shaq and got 3 rings, when thing were ugly he wanted out of LA, they cleared everything and manage to get along but it wasn’t until Pau’s arrival that Lakers got some more rings. Not saying Money is not good cause he is damn good, I’m just saying that winning a ring is harder than people think and no star has won by himself. Not Magic, not Bird, not Duncan, not Jordan.

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