Entering his 20th NBA season, Kobe Bryant is stepping into what he considers “uncharted territory” as a 37-year-old first option shooting guard for a rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers squad.

Kobe doesn’t want his twilight to be compared to that of Michael Jordan and his ill-fated adventure in D.C.

Bryant says he has done all that is humanly possible to prepare for what lies ahead, and looks forward to guiding the younger Lakers towards an uncertain future.

Per USA Today:

“I just let (the concerns) go after a while, man,” said Bryant, who will be a free agent next summer and has made it clear he’s unsure whether he’ll retire. “You have to ask yourself, did you do everything you possibly could to prepare for the season? And I have. I’ve trained really hard to get to this point, and you have to be comfortable with that. Whatever happens is really beyond your control.”

 

Stay healthy. Be productive. Help this team full of youngsters win games. His to-do list, for simplicity’s sake, ends there. […] “Just play the game that’s right in front of you,” he said. “That means a lot at this age to be able to do that, when you can react to situations, when you have the physical capability to react to situations, the skills are still there to react to situations. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself. And being healthy man. I’d love to play all year, too.”

 

It speaks volumes about Bryant’s state of mind that he has no muse for this particular moment. He has spent recent years seeking inspiration from all corners, be it the Arianna Huffington and Anna Wintour types in the business world or his widely known basketball North Star, Michael Jordan. In this instance, however, he has yet to find someone who can truly relate to this particular path. […] “This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Related
WATCH: Kobe Bryant Returns to NBA Action