Kobe Bryant’s retirement plan.
To hear a guy discuss the fact that he has been playing 16 going on 17 years in the NBA is a rare thing. With Kobe Bryant everything seems to be pretty rare.
The Los Angeles Lakers captain sat down with Yahoo Sports and gave candidly frank answers as to what his future plans are.
When asked if he still plans on retiring at the age of 35 as he previously has stated, Bryant was honest.
“I’ve been playing for 17 years now so next year will be my 17th and when I am 35 it will be my 18th year in the league. That is a long time to be playing. Umm… that will be my last year of my contract and I don’t know… I don’t know if I will play any longer than that.”
When pressed to move further he expanded on that answer.
“It’s just a possibility; it’s not something that I have given much thought to. But it’s a possibility, it could happen.”
So is the guy that many consider to be the greatest player since you-know-who ready to predict when he will know that his plans are concrete?
“At the end of the year… at the end of that year probably, I think you’ll know, Bryant said. I’ve seen so many players retire and think they know and then they come back. I don’t want to be one of those guys. I know that they have said it too so it must be tougher than it sounds to able to retire and to know when that moment is actually there. So, I will cross that bridge when I get to it I guess.”
That bridge must occupy more of his mindset than he wants to let on as he already knows how he wants you to remember him.
“I would love for people to look at my career and say that I maximized everything that I possibly could…that every ounce of talent that I had… I got the most out of it. If people can say that about me then I will be very happy.”
It’s to early to tell if Bryant s gearing up for his victory lap world tour in 2013-2014 or if he was just speculating during an interview.
As he goes through his current Olympics experience jousting with rookies like Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, regardless of his confidence he might be feeling like the old man in the room.
35 years-old is hardly old in life terms but as an athlete who has won five titles and holds numerous moments that will define a generation of pro basketball can he be thinking ‘what’s left?’