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Kobe sounds exactly like a guy ready to retire in two years

Oct 8, 2012, 6:41 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

It’s impossible to know what Kobe Bryant will be thinking in two years.

It’s not going to be easy for him to walk away from a sport he loves, to walk away from the locker room camaraderie, to refocus his competitive drive away from the basketball court that has been his home since childhood.

But more and more each time he speaks publicly about it, Kobe Bryant sounds like a guy who is going to hang up his Nikes when his current contract is up in two years.

Look at what he told Ken Berger of in a fantastic profile about where Kobe is right now mentally as he enters his 17th NBA season.

“It’s just that three more years seems like a really long time to continue to stay at a high, high level of training and preparation and health,” Bryant said. “That’s a lot of years. For a guard? That’s a lot of years….

“It’s not about health necessarily,” he said. “It’s about ‘Do I want to do it? Do I have that hunger to continue to prepare at a high level?’ “

If he is publically asking himself that question…

Kobe’s not going to be able to easily walk away from the game, but he also has been around long enough to see Michael Jordan come back as a Wizard and other great players hang on to become guys that played limited minutes and scored 12 points a night to chase a ring. Kobe’s ego is not going to let that happen.

But he also wants that sixth ring. He wants as many rings as Jordan. And my guess is he might sign a one-year deal after his current one if Steve Nash is still a Laker to chase it (or a seventh, depending on how things go).

However, that might be it. That might be the end.

Go read the entire story. Especially if you find the current players union battle between director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher for control of the organization interesting. Kobe weighs in on that, too. (And if you have to guess who he backs, you have not been paying attention.)

  1. michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 8, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    His ego had better take a back seat this season, else the Lakers won’t contend for any more championships. Steve Nash needs the ball on every possession to run an effective offense and Kobe’s ego needs to accept it.

    • nbascreed - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      1000 thumbs up…for some reason though I don’t think winning a championship avg 20 ppg is his idea of success…that’s just me.

      • dal24la - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:56 PM

        yea, he’s so obsessed with scoring that’s why he played in the meaningless last game of the year last years at Sacramento so he could get the 47 points needed to be the scoring champ.
        Oops, that’s right it didn’t happen.

        Don’t get me wrong Kobe likes to score but not anywhere near as much as he likes to win.

    • money2long - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      let’s not make kobe out to be an idiot on running an offense. kobe can run an offense too. the only concern is whether he is willing to stick to the sets or break them when he sees a different option. nash is the point guard and should have the ball in his hands to do most of the facilitating, but suggesting we take away all of kobe’s opportunities for decision making within the offense is not very smart.

      for one, when an offensive weapon like kobe has the ball in his hands, it draws the attention to him and away from the post. also, if kobe is on fire in any particular game, giving him the ball knowing w\that a double team may come, frees things up for someone. there are many reasons NOT to restrict kobe from handling the rock. however, i am not saying nash shouldn’t man down the position. i’m just saying we shouldn’t reserve every possession to nash’s call. for those who don’t know, kobe’s second position is actually point guard, not forward. he has the ability and brain to know how to run a play or get a play executed freestlye mode.

  2. zacksdad - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Kobe will stay 5 – 6 more years. He wants to be the NBA all time leader in points. So he needs a minimum of 5 years to do that.

    • jjordannba - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM

      nah hell play four years more max

    • ron05342 - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:59 PM

      No way.

      A few years ago I thought the same thing, but Kobe is wearing out and his skill level is diminishing at a faster rate than I thought…I believe he also believes this, its just too hard to keep up that kind of level at the guard position than say, at center…where Kareem got in 20 years and the all-time scoring lead.

      Kobe can do 20, perhaps, but he won’t reach Kareem.

      • jjordannba - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        I was saying he will most likely do the 2 years then retire but definitely no more than 4 years.

  3. ocgunslinger - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Ego Schmego. This is one of basketball’s all time greats with a tremendous basketball IQ. Nobody prepares more nor plays through injuries like Bryant. He will do what it takes to win if it is deferring to get his team mates going early or taking the critical shot at the end of the game that many shy away from and never gives excuses. Has he led a perfect personal life….nope…but we are talking his basketball skill set and few if any have ever been better. Will miss him when he retires.

    • connaniii - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Have you ever heard of M.J ?

    • donivantrip - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      The person above me is a kobetard. Theres a LOT of people better than kobe, what a dumb thing to say

  4. lakerluver - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    FINALLY an unbiased, knowledgable basketball fan!! You are a rarity on this site, my friend. And, might I add, a welcome addition!! A lot of “fans” can’t separate the person they “perceive” a player to be from his accomplishments. I’m a die hard LAKERS fan. I hate Boston, and I dislike Miami. However, I am unbiased and knowledgable enough to recognize and admit that LeBron’s the best player in the world, and Bird’s arguably the greatest sf ever. Too bad others on this site allow their biases to blind them to reality.

  5. jerdogthompson - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Man I’d be super impressed if he could last past two more seasons. Last I checked he has 51,000 minutes logged coming into this year. Every year the competition gets younger, faster, more aggressive, etc……Look I don’t think anyone would argue Kobe’s desire to win that’s well chronicled. It’s just when the body gives way it gives way and the NBA has the most elite athletes in the world.

    Slightly OT, anyone catch the Laker bench putting up a paltry 17 points in 24 minutes against the warriors? If I were a Laker fan I’d worry less about Kobe’s retirement and a helluva lot more about what happens this season when the bench mob takes the floor. It’s preseason right? Yeah, preseason.

    • cosanostra71 - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      it is somewhat concerning but at the same time players like Reeves Nelson (7 minutes), Greg Somogyi (15 minutes), and Ronnie Aguilar (8 minutes) aren’t going to make the team, and Devin Ebanks (13 minutes), Robert Sacre (18 minutes), Earl Clark (17 minutes) are going to be end of the bench.

      • money2long - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:21 PM

        good call

  6. paulhargis53 - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Lakerluver, how could you type that post with a straight face? Unbiased, knowledgeable? Never has a more preposterous statement been made on this site.
    You know, on second thought, you are probably that delusional to think those things about yourself.
    Enough about you sausage wallet.

    I don’t deny Kobes talent. I deny he’s equal to Jordan talent wise. He’s at the lower end of top 10 in goat race though.

    jerrdog makes a great point, he’s got a lot of miles on him. A.2nd great point is that bench is likely going to be the Lakers kryptonite again.

    I don’t forsee Kobe giving up the alpha dog role. It’s not in his DNA. How poetic will it be that in his quest to equal Mike, that it will be his own doing that he doesn’t make it?
    Why does he wanna be like Mike anyway? Why doesn’t he just be Kobe?

    No matter what he does anyway, he’s not ever going to be as good as Jordan.

  7. connaniii - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    For crying out loud Helin, Nash is already 39 years old, just how long do you think he´ll still be around?…..It´s now or never!

  8. cantonbound13 - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    2 more years & 2 more rings than LeChoke.

  9. denverdude7 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Kobe sounds exactly like a guy ready to retire in two years.

    Why wait? Go NOW !!!!!!!
    Don’t let the door hit you in the keester on the way out.

  10. omniusprime - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Kobe needs to focus on this season and winning another ring, he can contemplate retirement after the season is ov er and he’s secured ring #6. Kobe has been at it a long time but he wants to make sure that he retires when he’s really done, not make an embarrassing comeback like Jordan did. Go Kobe!!! Go Lakers!!!

  11. michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    I like the optimism… or shall we say “delusion”

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