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Kobe says he’ll be playing at age 40… only at a YMCA

Nov 6, 2012, 9:55 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom AP

You need to look at this thing through the eyes of Kobe Bryant the businessman: He is the NBA’s biggest international star. When he goes to China or Spain or Turkey, he is a star on the level normally reserved for soccer gods.

So when he is asked when he might retire and he says something like “age 40” the implication isn’t that he’ll be in the NBA at that time going all Jason Kidd, it’s that he might play a year or two overseas after his stateside career ends. Keeping that hope alive is good business.

All of which brings us to the last week. It makes sense for Kobe to tell a respected Turkish reporter he might play to 40 because it keeps hope alive. But you can guess what Kobe told local reporters when pressed on the issue Tuesday, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

“Playing until I’m 40 is not beyond the realm of possibility,” he said. “There’s always YMCA games, there’s always pickup games. I’ll probably be playing as long as I’m living.”

There you go, at age 40 Kobe could drop in on your YMCA game and blow the curve up.

Kobe has said more than once he could hang it up after two years. He has said more than once that when the guys he blows by now blow by him he is walking away. My guess is after two seasons he is going to see how his body feels and how the Lakers are set and decide if he wants to come back for a year or two at a discounted price — like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan just did — or walk away. I bet he plays a year or two beyond that, but it’s no sure thing.

As Bill Parcells has said: “When you’re thinking about retiring, or you’re retired, you’re retired.”

  1. livingsacrifice86 - Nov 6, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Not a big Kobe fan, but the day that dude retires will be a sad day for NBA fans. The competitiveness in him is unbelievable

  2. BigBeachBall - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    YMCA games have a pecking order, you can’t just role up and say you’re kobe bryant and expect to get into a game….

    • scalfor3 - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:57 AM

      yes you can

  3. joshm5683 - Nov 7, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Huge Kobe and Lakers fan, but with an ego as large as his and Kareem’s scoring record in his sights………I don’t see him retiring until at least then.

  4. paulhargis53 - Nov 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Even if he gets the scoring record, he still won’t be considered as good as Jordan.

    Just like Kareem isn’t considered better than Wilt or Russell.

    If that is all he’s going to continue to play for, than he may as well retire. LeBron will just wrest it away from him anyway.

  5. lakerluver - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Kareem isn’t considered better than Wilt or Russell by who, you? Kareem was much better than Russell. As for LeBron, he probably will break the scoring record. But Durant will then break it again. Kobe only cares about rings, not records. All the “truly” great ones have egos.

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