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Kobe Bryant says he might retire in two years. You buy that?

Jul 16, 2012, 3:05 PM EDT

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In his fantastic, detailed interview with a Kobe Bryant, Yahoo’s Graham Bensinger reminded him that as rookie Kobe said he would be retired and be on a beach overseas somewhere at age 35.

What would 33-year-old Kobe say to that?

“Still probably accurate…” Kobe said. “I’ve been playing for 17 years now, so next year will be my 17th and then, when I’m 35, it will be my 18th year in the league. I mean that’s a long time to be playing. It will be the last year in my contract, so I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll play any longer than that.”

Kobe goes on to say he will decide what to do when his current contract is up after two more seasons.

Baring a major injury, I just don’t see Kobe walking away then. He’s too competitive, still playing at too high a level, still having too much fun. He’s not 23-year-old Kobe, but he’s still one of the game’s best and most compelling players.

He says he doesn’t want to be one of those guys who retires but can’t stay away and quickly un-retires. Nobody plans on being the next Brett Favre. But Kobe is realistic. He knows he’s a competitor and walking away is just not as easy as it sounds.

But it’s out there. He’s going to think about it.

  1. max20characters - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Not buying any bit of it. Kobe’s seeking attention because it’s been awhile since he’s been the main attraction in NBA news.

    • slopmcflop - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      Yeah, what a joke of a dude, answering questions that he is asked by the media. Freaking attention hog, that one.

    • skids003 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      You’re right. He is posturing for 1 more huge contract. Plus, he won’t retire until he breaks a few alltime scoring records, his ego won’t allow him to retire before he can “prove” he’s the “greatest.” Haha. BS.

    • saint1997 - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:37 AM

      Yeah we never hear of that bloke anymore. It’s like, come on, you are not an all star starter anymore or one of the premier scorers and smartest players in the league! Geez. Biggest draft bust everrrr

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Kobe ain’t retiring. That’s posturing — to get out in front of negotiations with Jim (or Jerry, if he’s still with us) Buss once that $30M comes off the books to end that deal. Kobe will settle for less; he’ll have to — but the Lakers will want him to come back, and come back at about half the price for 3 years. He wants Kareem’s record and 7 rings.

  3. beavertonsteve - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I hope he keeps playing, but the better question might be “When will Kobe’s knees retire?”

  4. clickablecontent - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Kobe to trade prospects: This could be your team in 3 years.

  5. lastdukestreetking - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Kobe won’t retire until he gets the all-time scoring record. He doesn’t have to depend on teammates for that.

    • dal24la - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Is that why he didn’t the play the last game of 2011 season when he could have won the scoring title?

      • pglive21 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        Um…what does the 2011-2012 scoring title have to do with the all-time scoring record? Read a little more carefully please.

      • dal24la - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        It means he isn’t obsessed with scoring. If he was obsessed with scoring points than he would have tried to win the scoring title don’t you think? At his age he wouldn’t have missed a game he could have played that would pad his scoring stats.

      • pglive21 - Jul 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        He’s already won the season scoring title. He still wants to become the all-time leading scorer. You really think one game is going to make a difference? Kobe’s priorities are championships and points, in that order. You really think he was going to potentially jeopardize this past season’s shot at a title for one game to pad his total scoring stats?

  6. chadinkc30 - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Countdown til when SHOCKEXCHANGE (AKA KING DOUCHEBAG) talks his normal ridiculous hate…1,2,3

  7. unfortunatelyavikingsfan - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I hate his guts … but I’ll miss him like crazy. One of the most fascinating players to watch (and root against). You may not like the guy, but you definitely have to respect what he brings on the floor every night.

  8. ccshocktalk - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    The day Kobe Bryant walks away from the game is the day another legend leaves the court, and leaves a pair of big shoes to fill. It certainly wont be a good day for any sports fan, other than those of the teams he has demolished for 18 years straight.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:27 AM

      well said…it’s been a pleasure watching his entire NBA career. i will surely be sad the day he retires…

  9. noahbird - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    He’ll retire when he’s not a top 10 scoring machine.

    • dal24la - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Agreed. Kobe Bryant himself said he won’t stick around and average like 18 ppg. I think he sticks around for the duration of Steve Nash’s 3 year contract.

  10. passerby23 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I’m actually buying it. He has said before that he doesn’t want to be one of those players who hangs around too long and watches his game quickly evaporate. And I think we know Kobe doesn’t want to be relegated to role player journeyman status. On top of that, he’s not going to get another max contract at his age, which means he’ll be signing for something like the mid-level exception, which is kind of pointless at that stage of his career with the amount of money he’s made over his career.

    Kobe’s legacy is in tact. He doesn’t need the all-time scoring title and he has championships. If he wins a championship in his last year, I suspect he’ll want to leave on top.

  11. dsimp724 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Kobe wont retire till he’s the all time scoring leader…. And with any luck he could be the all time points leader as well

  12. cdins - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    @dasimp724, scoring leader and point leader? So either you think hes going to boost his career ppg to get over 30.1 or your very confused about all time scoring leader means

    • tsi431 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      I assume he means the Lakers scoring leader. Which he is pretty close (within 2 p.p.g), but still not likely to break.

  13. kwf1224 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    The Lakers have to keep him for a long time.

  14. tsi431 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    This is exactly why his huge contract is not that big of a deal. The real penalty in the luxury tax starts after his contract has run its course. The penalties in the mean time are not that harsh. Besides his contract was a good one during the last CBA, just not the current one.

  15. brianjoates - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Wouldn’t be too shocked if Kobe heads to Italy for two seasons around age 39-40. Kinda too old at that point for the NBA , but would dominate in Italian league.

  16. southpaw77 - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Chalk this one up to many ramblings. Like him going overseas to play at the end of his career or being shot on a camera phone saying he was going to Chicago, or him wanting Bynum traded for Jason Kidd a few years back.
    White noise, take it with a grain of salt.

  17. philliephaninva - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Kobe retired two years ago. He’s been phoning it in.

  18. omniusprime - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Will Kobe be smart and walk away while he’s still in his prime or will he try to do the Stave Nash routine and stick around until he’s proven he’s way over the hill. I’m still peeved at Kupcake for bringing in the old geezer guard from Phoenix who can’t guard the young fast guards. Knowing when to walk away is always a tough call, Brett Favre sure didn’t know when he should have retired.

    Kobe is going to have to do some soul searching regarding what he’ll do after this current contract runs out. It might be smart for him to go to Italy and play a few years in a much less competitive league and just have some fun in Europe giving a whole new set of fans a treat. If he wants to stay in the NBA and have a chance at winning another ring then he’s going to have to bite the bullet and take a massive pay cut to give the Lakers some room to bring in a better supporting cast, something they haven’t the past two years. As a lifelong Laker fan I’m torn as to whether in two years he should bow out gracefully or stay, I want to see the Lakers catch and surpass the hated Celtics in titles. It might be that Kobe staying a Laker won’t further my agenda.

  19. lakerluver - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Dude, if you don’t have anything of substance to add just don’t comment. If Kobe was so concerned about stupid scoring records he would’ve played the last game of this past reg season, scored 45 points, and won the season scoring title over Durant!! Remember, he sat that game out?!! The guy has done everything any great player could possibly do in a career, yet some of you clowns still “manufacture” ways to hate.

    • namriverrat69 - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      All top athletes consider retirement around this time of their careers. They look at the damage done to their bodies, the toll taken on their families from being away so long and the long range physical limitations they will have to live with the rest of their lives. They are human and egos don’t always rule the day.

      A case in point. The great Jim Brown played 9 years retiring at the old age of 30. He owned all about all the rushing records. This was back when they played 12 games seasons (his first four) and 14 game seasons (his last six).He had a good 6 more good years left. He was such a great athlete, he is still considered the greatest college la cross player of all time 60+ years later.

      He led the NFL in rushing 8 of his 9 years. The year he didn’t win he had a badly sprained wrist and still came in 2nd with 996 yards rushing to the Packers Jim Taylor. Jim never missed a game..Jim Brown is the only player to average over 5 yards per carry for a career = 5.2 ypc. He was the first superstar of modern football and one of my idols growing up. It was hard to see him quit when he did but . . . what a backfield the Browns would have had if Heisman winner Ernie Davis had not died so suddenly. The thought of those two guys in the same back field still seems exciting today as it did 50 or so years ago. Man, if only . . .

      ;Kobe has more than enough money. He will get endorsements forever. It is about him seriously considering retiring. Look at all the various players from sports suing of neglectful medical treatment of injuries. I doubt if Kobie’s little finger will ever work right again. Whatever happens Kobe will retire when he is good and ready.

  20. dcdebacle - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    knowing when to stop/pulling out has never been a great strength for him.

  21. buffalo65 - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    He will take his talents to South Beach.

  22. davidcl77 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Again, he’s just being a blow hard. He must want attention since he is old and washed up. The young guys are kicking that ass on the floor, so he has to run his mouth about something. Go ahead…. Retire. Good riddens.
    Beat the Dream Team? Lol! They almost had their butts kicked by Argentina! Lol!!!

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