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Kobe reportedly wants ‘two more cracks’ at winning championships before he retires

Jun 14, 2013, 10:04 PM EDT

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Kobe Bryant hinted recently that once he recovers from the torn Achilles injury that prematurely ended his 2013 season, he’d continue his playing career beyond next season.

That was a bit of a change from what had been widely accepted, which was that once Bryant’s contract was up at the end of next season, he’d pull the curtains on what would at that point be an 18-year NBA career played by one of the all-time greats.

But being robbed by injury of one of his final opportunities to compete for a championship has changed all that. Now more than ever, it seems Bryant is determined to make one final push at winning one, and possibly two more titles before he’s ready to hang ‘em up.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant set off a mild panic among Lakers fans on Friday afternoon when he selected “The Last Chapter” as the slogan that best represents his comeback from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“The Last Chapter,” you see, sounds a lot like the quote Phil Jackson gave when he decided to return for his final season with the Lakers in 2010-11, and seemed to imply Bryant was thinking of retiring after next season.

Far from it, a knowledgeable source told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday.

Bryant wants to be “back next season with a vengeance,” the source said. And he wants “two more cracks at it to win seven NBA titles at least.”

The number seven is somewhat of a magical one in NBA lore where titles are concerned, considering that Michael Jordan finished his career with six. Winning one more championship than Jordan wouldn’t solidify anything in terms of Bryant’s greatness, and likely wouldn’t do much to help his case for being “better” than Jordan, however you choose to define that word in this context.

Putting aside the pursuit of titles which Bryant has always maintained was his primary motivation for playing, the Lakers would welcome his presence on the roster for as long as he chooses to play. The only question would be at what price, considering Bryant’s $30 million salary he’s going to be paid in the final year of his deal.

While the team is happy to extend him for a year or two beyond that at a number that pays respect for all he’s done, there’s a fine line. Because under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers would have an extremely tough time assembling the level of talent around Bryant to legitimize those championship aspirations should they decide to overpay for his services.

  1. shockexchange - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Interpretation: “Horry Jr wants to align himself with more teams with ‘exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L’ so he can have a crack at winning more chips before he retires.”

  2. rushbacker - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    So, he’s going to demand a trade?

  3. bchapman2011 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    There is one possible way that Kobe might be able to contend for a ring with the Lakers. First off is throw away next year. The Lakers are old,slow and need to dump their high priced veterans the next two off seasons.Second, if Kobe truly wants to win he will resign after this season a contract that pays him close to the veterans minimum. Imagine what the Lakers could do with that extra 33 million. Of course this will never happen but if Kobe surprises everybody and does this it would be epic.

  4. jamieaadams - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    If Kobe remains a Laker, his chances of winning a championship in two years are only slightly better than my chances of winning a championship in two years.

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      What, you play for the Thunder currently?

  5. herlies - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Kobe has had the best roster for 13 of his 17 seasons!

    No player in decades has had an easier path.

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      That’s because HE was on THOSE rosters, silly. Take Kobe off some of those rosters and you have teams that would struggle to make the playoffs (not the Shaq teams). The Lakers back then when they were winning ‘chips were hardly “loaded”. Stop hating.

    • spthegr8 - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      @herlies
      Cool Story Bro!!!!! A REAL cool story!!!

  6. golfrangeman - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    That’s fine but I. Wouldn’t say he was robbed of an opportunity to win a championship this year. It was very unrealistic to think he would have got passed the first round.

  7. patfic15 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Lol. Not gonna happen Kobe. Not with your $$$$

  8. lakerade - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    If and when that time comes, what is the estimated veteran’s minimum for a player with Kobe’s years played? Either way, so much is in flux right now…

  9. harshedmellow - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Laker Hater here. So fair warning. But the Lakers are DELUSIONAL to think they can win a championship with a bunch of worn-out guys. Nash? The dude was miraculous in Pheonix in terms of what he did at a given age, but he’s NOT that guy anymore and won’t be again. MWP? A stiff. Pau? Mr. Soft ain’t getting any harder. Kobe? He just suffered probably the worst injury that an explosive player can have. He’ll still find ways to be somewhat effective (in 2015!) but he’s gonna be shooting a lot of fadeaways and wide-open set shots from beyond the arc.

    And Dwight won’t be back. He’d be crazy to come back.

    So Kobe can yap all he wants about two more chances, but it’s just crazy talk.

    • spthegr8 - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      ” Mr Soft ain’t getting any harder “?? In the word’s of Roy Hibbert…..NO HOMO!!!

  10. orecchio14 - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    If Dwight does indeed leave, it’ll be interesting to see how the Lakers go about retooling.

  11. 13arod - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    the only reason they didn’t make the playoffs this year was because nash sucks

    • melkipershero - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:38 AM

      They made the playoffs.

      Nash doesnt suck. If you understand basketball you know Kobe didnt allow Nash to be Nash. Nash became a spot up shooter and not a playmaker due to Kobe not willing to be a team player.

      • money2long - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:41 AM

        kobe was getting used to bringing the ball up due to nash’s ailments throughout the season. kobe didnt do it as much as he was when nash came back.

      • spthegr8 - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        @Melkipershero
        “If you understand basketball you know Kobe didn’t allow Nash to be Nash”????? If you wanna blame somebody for, Nash not being Nash. Blame father time.!! You must not have watched many Laker games this year!!

      • melkipershero - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Father time always wins. I agree with you on that. From the begginning I said Nash was a bad fit. Kobe has to have the ball to be effective as does Nash. For Nash to be Nash he needs to bring the ball up every play. That just wasnt going to happen. He became a spot up shooter and thats all. The Lakers need Dr. Buss back.

    • rushbacker - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      See, y’all? All those deluded clowns on the Kimmell segments ARE real. LOL!

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Steve Nash, this year at 38 yrs old (while only in 50 games due to injuries) did the following:

      Shot .497% from the field
      Shot .922% from the free throw line
      Shot .438% from 3 point range

      So he just missed another 50/90/40 season. He has several by the way.

      For comparison, Ray Allen, who is a great shooter, did the following this year at 37 yrs old

      Shot .449% from the field
      Shot .886% from the free throw line
      Shot .419% from 3 point range

      Lest one think that Steve Nash only bested Ray Allen this year, here are their career averages for these categories:

      Nash

      .491 % from the field
      .904% from the free throw line
      .428% from 3 point range

      Allen

      .452% from the field
      .894% from the free throw line
      .401% from 3 point range

      Steve Nash is a much better shooter than Ray Allen, across the board…

      Beyond shooting, let’s discuss Assists.

      Nash

      Assists per game average 8.5

      Allen

      Assists per game average 3.4

      I’m not bashing Ray Allen. He is a great player and shooter.

      It’s just that 13arod above said that Nash sucks…

      Far from it.

  12. jgray30 - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    Nash did suck. idk what team u were watching. Kobe was a team player. The thing was Nash turned the ball over too much and was abused on offense and defense. Kobe was more of a threat in which was Nash’s “bread and butter” the pick and role. remember they didn’t start winning until Kobe ran the offense. Either Nash does suck or he was really hurt. guess we will find out next season:(

  13. paulhargis53 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    Sorry Kobe, your championship days are over, they have been for 3 years. You and the franchise sealed that fate with that shortsighted, bloated, “thank you” contract.

    I love how all these lakers fans just assume the the team will just ” reload like they always have”.
    They think Dwight will stay, because he will get more $ money, but the fully expect other free agents to flock to them because, hey, “its L.A.

    Delusional is right. Wait until next season gets closer…..it gets way worse….way worse.

    • therealhtj - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      As much as I hate to agree with Larry Bird’s illegitimate son over here, he’s right. The minute they signed KB and Pau to those bloated extensions, the Lakers have been progressively getting worse. Kobe was so obsessed with being like his idol MJ, he wanted to finish out his career making the same kinda money. It wouldn’t shock me to see him demanding a raise over the 30 mil he’s getting next year so he can match Jordan’s final Bulls year at 33mil.

      BTW – Kobe actually wanted more money on his last extension, Lakers management wouldn’t pay him more than he could fetch on the open market (although it’s doubtful anyone would’ve had the type of cap space to even begin to offer it). Jordan, in those last two Bulls years wanted a 2 year deal at 50, but cheap Bulls ownership wanted to sign him to just 1 year and ended up giving him a raise after his 5th ring/Finals MVP.

      So for all the Dwights and CP3s out there – you can get your supermax money, or you can be on a championship contender. We all know which one they’ll likely choose.

  14. reesesteel23 - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Sounds like he’s on 2 more Crack Rocks

  15. spthegr8 - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    @reese
    Sound’s like he’s on crack rock’s??? He’s on crack because he want’s too win more ring’s?? If you associate ” crack rock’s ” with the hunger for winning championship’s. Then just call Kobe, Tyrone Biggums!!! Like Tyrone said on the Chapelle Show ( The Fear Factor episode ) ‘ GOTTA PLAY TOO WIN”!!!!!!

  16. elcapitanfiscal - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Lol out his 5 rings, kobe was the best player on his team for only two of them..

    He also went 6 of 24 in game 7 of the finals against the Celtics.

    So overrated..he wont win another ring unless he gets another player to carry him

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