by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

For people who don’t like Kobe Bryant, one of the biggest charges against him, is that he tries too hard to be like Michael Jordan.

The tongue comes out on his drives to the hoop, he so obviously modeled much of his game after Mike, Bryant even sort of sounded like his hero when he first came into the League.

A possible sixth ring isn’t the only thing Kobe could soon add to his Jordan-esque collection. He says that once he hangs up his Nikes in a few years, we may eventually see him attempt a comeback to the NBA just like Michael did.

From the Dan Patrick Show (via SRI):

On how many years he’s got left before he retires: “This is the first time [someone has brought it up]. This is a first. … I don’t know. Who really knows? I hear of the different players when they go through retirement and that whole process and what they go through, emotionally, and I’m nowhere near there yet. I guess when it hits me, I’ll know.”

On whether he could see himself coming out of retirement after he retires: “Yeah, I mean, you see so many people and so many players do it, but it’s tough to say that you won’t go through that. Obviously, everybody does go through that. That’s the point where you have your family handcuff you to a chair.”

Perhaps Kobe Bryant needs a refresher course on the unmitigated disaster that was MJ’s second comeback (the first is discounted, since he was still the best basketball player in the known universe.)

Athletes, especially great ones, have the right to play for as long as their body lets them — and more to the point, as long as someone is foolish enough to pay them to keep doing so — but you can’t help but wish they would know just when to quit.