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Kobe plans to decide on retirement date this summer

Mar 31, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Kobe Bryant will enter the 2013-14 season in the final year of his current Lakers contract, one that will pay him over $30 million for next season.

Bryant and the Lakers could come to terms on an extension this summer, but before doing so, Bryant would first need to decide that he wishes to continue play beyond next season.

Even 17 years in, Bryant remains one of the game’s best players. As of right now, however, he’s leaning toward making his 18th NBA season his last.

From Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:

Bryant made it clear in an interview with NBA.com he expects to make a call before reporting to training camp and probably even long before that. One factor in the decision is the chance to end all the endless questions. Another is to give the Lakers clarity moving forward, in general, and particularly in conjunction with any contract talks that may take place.

“We’ll talk,” Bryant said. “I’ll talk to my family and stuff and really see if I want to continue to sacrifice as much as I’m sacrificing right now. I’m putting my body through a lot to just try to get ready to play every single night. To do what I’m doing right now, it’s not easy. I’ll tell you, it’s taken a lot of commitment.”

Is your sense that next season will be your last?

“As I sit here right now, yeah.”

Bryant has hinted many times recently that next season will be his last. The question came up again in light of his passing Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Saturday.

If he remains healthy and playing even close to his current level, Bryant will pass Michael Jordan in career scoring sometime midway through next season, with only Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ahead of him on that list. Should Bryant decide the all-time scoring record was something he wanted to pursue, as long as he holds up physically, it’s likely he could play long enough to get it.

Despite being one of the game’s greatest scorers, however, Bryant has always measured himself by championships. Earning a sixth ring before he hangs ‘em up would tie him with Jordan for career titles, which would mean much more to Bryant personally than would any individual accomplishment.

  1. psung26 - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Win #6 next year. Retire a champ. For a guy who always wanted to be Mike and beat Mike, sure seems like a fitting end to an incredible legacy of bball.

  2. 13arod - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    4 more years he could play

    • rushbacker - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      Thank you, Yoda.

      • usernamethatdoesnotalreadyexist - Mar 31, 2013 at 11:12 PM

        I LOL’d at this….

  3. chrismt79 - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    I think he’s weighing the long term effects of growth hormone and if its worth knocking a few more years off the ole ticker. Plus once the realization that both Durant and Lebron will knock him down the scoring ladder, might as well go learn to golf.

  4. money2long - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    lemme preface this by saying, kobe deserves that 30mil salary next season..he’s earned it by being a superstar, who tries his best to never miss a night of work. but is there a roster in the nba where kobe will be making more $ than that entire squad next year? i don’t think it’s likely but that’d be pretty funny .

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      The salary floor is over $58 million so no.

      • money2long - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        thanks for the update

      • money2long - Mar 31, 2013 at 11:33 PM

        then he’s def going to be making more than a team’s starting lineup somewhere lol. maybe the hornets starting five together is making less than kobe.

  5. money2long - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    p.s.
    nooooooooo kobe don’t gooooooooooo. i might shed a tear when that time comes. i always hated thinking about the nba post kobe. such an electrifying player. always provided, at least for me, the best entertainment. he’s just so legendary. kobe, time to have a son.

  6. money2long - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    i keep rapid posting, lol, o well, but man. i don’t think it’s farfetched to think kobe will be around the same player he is this year to next as far as productivity goes. how can a talent like this walk away ?? it’s good to go out when you’re hot though i gess. it’s why many didn’t want jordan to come back and continue playing the game for the wizards

  7. seanb20124 - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Retire after passing Jabaar

  8. rodericksilva - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Kobe is still top 5. He can remain top ten for another year or two. 18 years is crazy.

    Please don’t mention. Lebron and Durant with Kobe’s name for another 10-15 years, 4 more championships, and 10s of thousands more points.

    18 years at ANYTHING is hard to do. Lebron and Durant need to EARN the crown. We don’t just give it to them based off of the first half of their careers. The second half is the toughest physically. They both have a loooooong way to go.

    • mydoghasfleez - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      whatcha been smokin roder rick?

    • divan22 - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      LeBron’s better than Kobe ever was. Get real.

      And that’s not a knock on Kobe. I’ll brag to my grandkids someday about watching Kobe play.

      But that guy LeBron is something else.

    • money2long - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      divan22
      the difference between kobe and lebron is lebron plays dominant basketball, more physically superior than his defenders, kobe has basketball creativity. he can’t rely on his body to dominate. his game is predicated on skill, counters, shot creation. kobe an create any shot in the book. not sure you can say that about lebron. but in lebron’s case, it helps that you can overpower and dunk over anyone. depends on what your cup of tea is.

      • divan22 - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:21 PM

        No, apparently it depends more on where your bias lies.

        LeBron’s far more efficient and productive than Kobe has ever been. Not even close.

        Kobe’s never shot 47% from the field for a season… LeBron, other than his rookie year, has never shot LESS than 47%.

        Yes, LeBron’s more physically gifted than Kobe. But that’s part of the LeBron package. It’s an advantage.

        He’s also a much better passer and a far more efficient scorer than Kobe. Not to mention his ability to guard positions 1-4 on any given possession.

  9. rjlink1 - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    He’s obviously got a lot left in the tank. However, he’s said that he wouldn’t want to play if he couldn’t be dominant. I think he could still be close to that after next season is over (think Dr. J in his later years), so it all depends on whether the Lakers retool to have any shot at a title. I.e., re-sign Dwight, get a couple of good pieces in exchange for Pau, etc. Personally I don’t see a 6th ring happening, but he might decide to keep trying if the Lakers are back in the mix for 2014-15.

  10. spthegr8 - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    IMO. He is 2nd ALL-TIME to you know who??? Kobe has the MOST HATERS!!! & they don’t hate him cuz he sucks!!!

  11. mp4philly - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Making $30 in a year and you’re sacrificing a lot????

  12. rodge1 - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Hopefully Kobe stays and keeps earning that salary or more with the Lakers. This would guarantee them no room to sign anyone else and keep them mediocre. Please stay for another 10 years Kobe!

  13. asimonetti88 - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    It’s gonna be crazy when he does retire. An all-time great, we Lakers fans have been lucky to have been able to watch him these last 17 years.

  14. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    No way he’s retiring when he can get a 6th ring and retire as the NBA’s all time leading scorer.

  15. loungefly74 - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    it will be a sad day when Kobe hangs it up. dang, i hate just thinking about it. to have a player play so awesome for the same team his entire career…amazing. huh, my life was so different when Kobe first came on…always nice to look back and reflect…(a single tear draws from my eye while Boyz 2 Men’s “Its so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” plays…LOL)

  16. paulhargis53 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    It makes me cringe when I see grown men type that they are going to be heartbroken and tear up when their favorite player retires. Good God guys, its a game! You aren’t fans, your fanatics, isn’t there something more important in your lives? If not, I feel sorry for you.

    LeBron is young yet. Kobes game was similar earlier in his career. LeBron will continue to develop his game too.
    Its bot a Kobe thing, all the greats had to do it. Look at Jordan and Dr. J for examples….

    • manchestermiracle - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Seeing someone who enjoys a game, and those who play it, getting emotional when a favorite retires isn’t nearly as sad as witnessing a crabby old man constantly belittling fans for being fans. We all know what is the most important thing in YOUR sad life, because you never fail to come on here and remind us.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        yeah…i’m missing PH’s point here. so i am to understand, any emotional attachment feeling for a player who the fan watched (in Kobe’s case 18+ years) for a very long time is unwarranted? holy crap, i figured it out…PH is a cyborg with no emotions from the future sent here to kill sarah connor!

        @PH, did you express any happiness when your C’s won back in 2008? i’m sure you did…the point is you showed emotion. now…IF i was doing my best Jung analysis…i’d say PH53 grew up in a home…where a family pet died or was taken away too quickly and his parents showed very little love and support. PH53 then became a vagabond and in the process refused to develop any friendships with anyone only to know they will one day be gone…hence, the lack of any long term connection. who is “wailing and gnashing their teeth”? nobody. a fan can express their sadness, sure they can. nobody is jumping out the window. i’m surprised by this behavior…i would have thought you you get this being a C’s fan?

        Manchester…good point, man. PH does spend an exorbitant amount of time displaying his “truths”…actually…i do think its Aspergers, now.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      whoa…back up, hoss. cringe? feeling sorry? come on, man. no duh we know its a game. i think the idea of an exaggerated expression (as you say “heartbroken and tear up “) was the point for a fan to express how emotional they feel when a favorite player retires. whats the fault in that? i’ve (we’ve) watched Kobe play now for almost 2 decades. an analogy would be seeing your pet dog/cat get old, etc…i dont think you need to feel sorry for anyone…actually, you are exhibiting signs of aspergers…

      not sure how your last part of your statement is relevant? are you saying Kobe fans will now have Lebron to look forward too because he is young? yeah…missing the point, man. PH…i give you the benefit of the doubt sometimes…but dang, sometimes it hard too…

  17. fearthehoody - Apr 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    He’ll probably find a nice quiet place in Boulder Colorado to enjoy retirement!!!!!!

  18. paulhargis53 - Apr 1, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Who is crabby? Certainly not me.
    I just think its pathetic that people get so overinvoled in their sports team to point that there is wailing and gnashing of teeth when a sports player retires. You didn’t know them, you watched tv. Did you cry when your favorite tv show was cancelled too? Grow up dude, its entertainment. If you’re over 13 and are sad and crying about a basketball player retiring, your issues are pretty severe. I come on and speak the truth, that’s not popular. In essence I’m telling you, to get a life, to live in the real world.

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