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Kobe says he can play five more years… but don’t bet on it

Apr 12, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Bryant leaves the court against the Portland Trail Blazers after their NBA game in Portland Reuters

Often with guards, once they reach their mid-30s, you expect their production to fall off a cliff. Which has made what Kobe Bryant has done this season all the more impressive. The reasons he seems to defy Father Time are clear — his commitment to conditioning and to the fundamentals of the game (his post footwork is as good as any big in the league) give him an edge lost on most his age. Or those a decade younger.

How much longer could Kobe play?

He said five years in an interview on Time Warner Sports Net (the cable network that paid so much money to get the Lakers’ broadcast rights it spun the head of every other owner in the league). Eric Pincus at the Los Angeles Times has the transcription.

“I can probably play another five years,” said Bryant to Kevin Frazier on “Connected With…Kobe Bryant,” which aired on Wednesday night via Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

“I’m not saying I’m going to play five years…but physically I could play,” he continued.

But the question with Kobe never was “could he?” It was “will he want to?” Will he continue to want to put in the long hours of effort — in the season and out of it — to stay in elite condition and improve his game?

“Right now, no,” said Bryant, who has one more year left on his contract. “It might change but right now, no. It’s too much.”

It’s too much work for not much payoff, he should say.

Kobe isn’t going to sign another deal (next season is the last on his contract) and go through all this so he can fight for an eight seed. He’s in it for the rings. (And the idea of him jumping teams to chase rings is highly unlikely. He’ll retire a Laker.)

While Kobe has said he will make a decision on what to do before next season starts, I think in reality how close the Lakers are go being a contender after next season will be the deciding factor. If he’s going to put in all that work, will he see a payoff?

Another season like this and he probably will retire.

  1. soopreme - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Take heed Dwight!

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      D-12 is not a leader yet, Kobe should leave when he thinks is right.

    • opshuns - Apr 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      Kerplunk went the Dwight signing…

  2. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I would love to see Kobe play 5 more years..

    I honestly dont think he has it in him to go the distance…

    He may try to break a few records to cement his already great legacy and then he will be done..

    Kobe will go down as one of the greatest and I’ll be sad to see him go

    From a Heat fan…

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      I have to say I agree. And I’m also a Heat fan (LeBron fan…) and I was firmly on the side of Shaq during the Shaq-Kobe feud days. But watching him for 17 years, one can only sit back and marvel at this abilities, his toughness, and his determination. I’m not going to start the argument of where he ranks with the best of all time – but 17 years in, this guy can still ball.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      @1heated
      It’s nice too see somebody get on here and just appreciate GREATNESS & keep any personal bias OUT OF IT!!!! On a Laker post about Kobe, thats pretty RARE. As a matter of fact forget rare…….IT DOESNT HAPPEN!! Weather you are a fan of his or not. What the Mamba is doing right now is CRAZY!!! I applaud you for just keeping it real!! That’s a breath of fresh air compared too the “TROLLS” we normally get and unfortunately are probably posting as I am right now!!! SMFH!!!

      • loungefly74 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        you know how you are good? when a bunch of people hate you…:)

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        Best comment ever, loungefly!

  3. money2long - Apr 12, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    kobe could still participate in the olympics if he were retired, correct? kobe LOVES basketball. his milage on the court is ridiculous. and it’s amazing that he is able to still produce like he is doing today. i think if when kobe is 50, and he looks back and knows he couldve gave a few more seaons, he’ll regret not doing so. buss needs to put the right pieces around kobe to get him to commit.

  4. loungefly74 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    who is the better “work-out warrior”…Kobe or Jerry Rice? that is a tough one…kinda like “Ginger” or “Mary Ann”…

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      I’m a Jerry Rice fan, and he is easily the best wide receiver ever to play in the NFL. Period. People can’t say that about Kobe. Again, I won’t bash Kobe because he’s earned my utmost respect over the years (this coming from a fan who hated him for many years!), but he won’t go down as the best all time. One of the best – but with Jerry Rice, there is no question.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        fellow JR fan here too…my favorite player of all time. yes, Rice is the best to play the position, no doubt. my question was just geared towards their respective conditioning they each do….both have amazing workout routines…

      • Distinguished Male - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Of course they can’t say that about Kobe, the NBA doesn’t even have the wide receiver position.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 12, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        Damn good point!!

      • ekreyszig - Apr 13, 2013 at 1:37 AM

        Since Rice’s position was more specialized I give the the workout award to Kobe in terms of the breadth of what he needed to train for (offense, defense, highly skilled in multiple positions, etc.). In terms of sheer individual effort who knows…could go to either guy.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      @lounge
      Thats is a tough one. Kobe’s workout or Jerry’s??? But I can answer the 2nd queation……..GINGER ALL DAY!!!!!

      • loungefly74 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        good call. great thing? there is no wrong answer!

      • spthegr8 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        @lounge
        I couldn’t agree more!!! Both of them were MOOOOOOOOOOOOONEY!!!!!!!

      • mydoghasfleez - Apr 13, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Mrs Howell is better than both Ginger and MaryAnn. When she removed her dentures.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 12, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      Mary-Ann over Ginger all day long!!

  5. lakerluver - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    MJ: 1
    KB: 1A

    • bougin89 - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      Kobe is definitely the 2nd best shooting guard of all time but there is no 1A to JOrdan.

    • saadasme - Apr 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      LBJ: 1
      MJ: 2
      KB: 2a

  6. savvybynature - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    It’s impossible for anyone to know what will happen or how they will feel years in the future, but it sounds like he must be feeling great right now to make such a prediction.
    As for the he will probably retire bit, maybe. Or maybe he will join another contender. Or maybe he will keep playing because he loves the game and wants to compete, even if it’s unlikely it will produce a title. A small chance at a title is still better than no chance at a title after all.

  7. paulhargis53 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    For lakerslurper its not Ginger or MaryAnn.

    Its more like Gilligan or the professor. If they were large. And sweaty. And black.

    Lakerslurper likes his protein.

  8. aboogy123456 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Kobe can definitely play 5 more years, because as Kurt wrote, he has great fundamentals. If he is going to extend past next year, they need to give him another perimeter defender that can guard the best player on the other team. Kobe won’t be able to extend his career if he’s having to guard the westbrooks and tony parkers of the world. I wish there was some way the lakers could get eric bledsoe or avery bradley. Kobe will always be able to score, but that needs to be his main role as he gets older.

  9. kanemoney - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Jerry is widely respected as the best WR of all time, but not the best player. HUGE difference.

    • themars211 - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      Jerry Rice has actually been ranked #1 on many of the greatest football player of all time rankings including yahoo, and the NFL network. Try google and see for yourself.

  10. kb2408 - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    pudhummer53, if Magic can accept his son for coming out, surely we here on PBT can accept you as well. Man, judging by your favorite topics for discussion, it’s pretty “obvious”!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 12, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Best comment ever, kb2408.

  11. aboogy123456 - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    If he is going to extend past next year, they need to give him another perimeter defender that can guard the best player on the other team. Kobe won’t be able to extend his career if he’s having to guard the westbrooks and tony parkers of the world. I wish there was some way the lakers could get eric bledsoe or avery bradley. Kobe will always be able to score, but that needs to be his main role as he gets older.

    • themars211 - Apr 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      I agree with your assessment. I always wondered why the Lakers never pulled the trigger on that Odom for Iguodala trade a few years back? That would have been a great pairing to make AI hte premiere perimeter defender for the Lakers….oh well….smdh

  12. skids003 - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    He will play till he is the alltime leading scorer, his huge ego won’t let him quit before then. His arms may fall off from the number of shots he’s jacked up, but he’ll play till he’s the alltime scorer, just watch.

    • money2long - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      sounds like you believe he can get there haha. salute to you, sir !

  13. lakerluver - Apr 12, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Jerry Rice just might be the greatest football player ever buy I think Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Lawrence Taylor also have a legit claim.
    As for the NBA
    MJ: 1
    KOBE BEAN BLACK MAMBA VINO BRYANT: 1A
    #theLAKERSzealot!

  14. bucs24 - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Sorry Kobe u won’t get anymore rings.

    • money2long - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      they said that when shaq left too.

  15. paulhargis53 - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    kb: You need to step up your game. That last post was pretty sad. You bore me.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 12, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      Worst comment ever, LAKERLUVER!

  16. lakerluver - Apr 12, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    @bucs24, he has FIVE rings already, which means he’s only behind a hand full of players in the history of the league. Mr. Bryant has had a phenomenal career, whether he wins another ring, or not. But don’t close the book on his career just yet. The LAKERS are going all out to help him get that sixth ring. He deserves it.

  17. lakerluver - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    “Worst comment ever”?!! I beg to differ. Well, at least you showed me some respect and spelled my name with all caps.

  18. allen227 - Apr 13, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Hope he does. He’s a true star and great player. He doesn’t need help from the officiating to be great. He’s got the killer instinct like the greatest of all time did.

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