Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  70 responses

Kobe Bryant May Consider a Post- Retirement Comeback

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.

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  • Karl

    So he never said it himself, it was just a question that someone asked him and he agreed it was a plausible option. Any other player with a high skill set would have answered the same way.

  • Donte

    so i guess he cant comback or hell be like jordan…….dat is the dumbest assumption ever

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    My man!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Two things about Michael’s second comeback with the Wiz: 1) a 38 year old Mike had little of the explosiveness that even the 35 year old mike had in 98. It slowed him to the point that he was again (as he was after his first retirement), a completely different player. Mike had every head and shoulder fake known to man and abused guys regularly from the perimeter. To say it was a disaster was not fair to the ability he still had at that time, which was probably greater than 90% of the league at that moment. 2)Mike played two teams of Wizards that were absolutely horrible. Perhaps if Mike was in his prime, he could have dragged them to the playoffs, but even at almost 40, he got them close. That’s pretty amazing. It was in his second year with the Wiz that he ran into injury issues with his knee….something Kobe’s going through already. If he thinks he’ll try and comeback and be dominant in any way, he’s sadly mistaken. Perhaps playing overseas in Italy (didn’t he say he would think about that for the right amount of money?)would be a better place to keep his competitive fire burning.

  • http://www.nba.com b-dub

    @Eboy – so mike comes back and he “was probably greater than 90% of the league at that moment”.. then hypothetically kobe does the exact same thing, and you say “if he thinks he’ll try and comeback and be dominant in any way, he’s sadly mistaken”.. really? they’re that different a player? yeah, i guess people should continue to dismiss kobe’s talent, determination and track record, i mean, what’s he ever done in the league?

  • letsmotor

    “the unmitigated disaster that was MJ’s second comeback”?? are you serious? you make it sound like he played like garbage those two years. was he his former self? of course not. but he still had all of the extremely refined fundamentals. personally, i enjoyed watching him as a wizard. sure, you can talk about it ruining the image we had of him. but the reason i enjoyed it was because the athleticism was totally gone, and at that point, he was able to score purely off of his fundamentals. go watch clips of him as a wizard. try not to drool over all those perfectly executed isolation moves. just try.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    Eboy, on some nights did Michael Jordan did better than 90% of the league. Only on some nights.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    I oughta read my comments before hastily posting them.

  • izzo

    I can’t wait for Kobe to draft a 34 year old Kwame Brown as first pick in 2016.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Zabba, yes, I should have said that instead.
    bdub, it’s not a slight against Kobe, the league is full of unreal wing players right now. 10 years ago there were a tiny handful of high-caliber wing players. Kobe coming back at let’s say, 39, to play against a 32 year old Bron, 35 year old Wade, 28 year old KD, etc…..seems like a much more difficult task to come back and “AND BE DOMINANT”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Eboy, stop hating lol.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    James, there’s a difference. I’m intelligent. You’re not. Love ya. LOL.

  • http://www.nba.com b-dub

    maybe, maybe not.. he’s the best low post scoring 2 guard since MJ in my opinion, and he seemingly improves that facet of his game every year, surely in preparation for a less explosive twilight of his career.. and co-sign ‘letsmotor’ – watching wiz jordan was like neo at the end of the matrix, everything slowed down and seemed easy (although i’m sure it wasn’t at that age!)

  • Anthony

    co-sign letsmotor

    @izzo LOL

  • http://www.twitter.com/chris_griff_3 Chris_Griff_3

    50 at 40.

  • C.B

    i hate articles like this. Just for the sake of writing an article

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    I can just imagine a 38 year old Kobe, missing all his explosiveness and athleticism but retaining all his low shot percentage and ball-hogging tendencies, returning to the league in a hell-bent quest to be “the man” one more time.

  • Exile

    I agree with Eboy’s first post. We all still flocked to see Jordan as a Wizard and he still was damn good… There were moments (for all of us) where we collectively wished he had stayed in a GM role(Kwame or no). Think about some of those blown dunks. But redemption came against some of the pretenders, like when he went up against Vince… that was fun to watch.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    I might be one of the few people who enjoyed MJ’s comeback…He was dropping 20 a game just off fundementals and b-ball IQ. His comeback proved that you dont have be super athletic in todays game to get buckets.

  • `JTaylor21

    Damn Kobe you don’t have to copy every single thing MJ does just to continue fooling your cult followers to believe that you are even close to being as good as the man. Be yourself Kobe and stop spiking your worshipers kool-aid.

  • logues

    i hate when ppl think mjs wizards days were bad. dude was 40 yrs old putting up 20(most ppl in the league that would be a career yr) a game and still busting ppls a$$es on the court, almost led a terrible team to the playoffs. they prolly woulda been the worst team in the league without him. but its mj and based on his past u think it was a disaster. stupid

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    Also Kobe is one of the most skilled players of this generation. I would not be surprised if he,along with Tim Duncan was an effective player at 38-40 (barring injury of course)

  • JTaylor21

    Damn Kobe you don’t have to copy each and every single thing MJ does just to continue fooling your cult followers to believe that you are even close to being as good as the man. Be yourself Kobe and stop spiking your worshipers kool-aid.

  • mister8

    I remember flying to washington from Amsterdam, and watching MJ play. My dream came true….do people who dismiss his two years there think of things like that???

  • karma

    Kobe never said that.


    He simply said “that’s when your family has to tie you down”; he acknowledged that its hard for athletes to recover, he never said he’d do it, or that he’s doing it similar to Jordan.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    People yall are missing the point, MJ came back and played, but it was with a sorry team. Imagine if MJ would have came back to play with a good team and would get the chance to play in a seven game playoff series. I truly believe MJ could have at least have 3 to 4 games out of those 7 where he showed he still got it. The difference with Kobe is, if he comes back he is not going to a bottom team, he will play for a good team, where he will get a chance to add to his playoff legacy. Also MJ had good nights and too many bad nights for it to be considered a successful comeback. Yes he average 20 points on a bad team, but NO PLAYOFFS for MR. AIR. If MJ would have been able to play in the playoffs, I would have felt it was a successful comeback, but him just playing in the regular season was a let down. Kobe can do the same, but HATERS hate, KOBE is going to BALL. BOOK IT!!

  • vtrobot

    This is fascinating news. This just in: Kobe might consider growing a Hitler mustache after he retires and may act in underwear commercials.

  • Benjamin Stone

    I love how these hack attack blog writers will take any prevailing opinion, no matter how false, and just repeat it despite the facts: Oldest player in NBA history to score 50 points in a game: 38 years, 315 days (51 points, vs. New Orleans Hornets, December 29, 2001). Oldest player in NBA history to score 40 points in a game: 40 years, 4 days (43 points, vs. New Jersey Nets, February 21, 2003). Jordan is also the only player to score 40+ at age 40 or older. In his final season, Jordan scored 40+ three times, 30+ nine times and 20+ 42 times. So what’s this about a disaster? Did you watch what MJ did at 39/40, or did you just read what someone else wrote about it after the fact? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye-0ghhY7uw&feature=related

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    Just to get the stats out there for MJ’s 2 seasons in Washington: 21.5 points; 6 rebounds; 4.5 assists; 1.5 steals. I’m with Eboy when he says that’s better than most players in the league at any point in time. That doesn’t resemble an “unmitigated disaster” to me. Those are all star type numbers. Shoot, those are better than Brandon Roy’s career numbers so far and we all agree he’s a perennial all star.

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    I hope he’s done when he says he’s done.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    This is a total non-story, like something the “worlwide follower” as you call them, would post.

    AJTaylor Its plain to see that Kobe patterned his game after Jordan… just like hundreds of kids did watching the greatest ever to play. The fact of the matter is that Kobe is great player, while the rest of us sit behind a computer and comment.

    It be one thing if he sucked, while emulating Jordan, but thats not the case so why me mad???

  • Benjamin Stone

    He also averaged 20+ points a game both years in Washington. At age 40. He averaged 22.4 points per game in 2001-2002, which would have placed him just ahead of Karl Malone at number 9 on the scoring list that year. Yes. That’s right. A top 10 scorer while wearing that “disasterous” Wizards jersey. The following year, his last year, he still averaged 20 ppg, good enough to be placed in the top 25. He also played all 82 games that season, after only 60 the previous year.

  • IHaveADream

    Lots of players looked up to Jordan, I don’t see why Kobe catches such a bad rap and people say he’s trying to be like him. If he pumps his fist, he’s trying to be like MJ…everyone in the league pumps their fist lol. Get over it. Mike is Mike. Kobe is Kobe. Period. End of story.

  • IHaveADream

    Kobe is Kobe. Mike is Mike. If Kobe pumps his fist people think he’s trying to be like Mike…so many players do the same thing, do they get a bad rap like Kobe? No. Leave the man alone. Let him be who he is. Kobe had the good sense to pattern his game after the only player he got to see while he was living in Italy…he’s grandparents sent him tapes of MJ…who else was he supposed to pattern his game after??

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoshElam JE

    co-sign Eboy’s first comment. Saved me a few minutes not having to type it myself. On another note — and yes, it’s ridiculous that I remember this — I vividly remember Kobe on an episode of MTV diaries saying, “When I retire, I definitely want to stay retired.” He said this while sitting in his living room watching MJ play the Knicks in his first regular season game with the Wizards. On another note, where the hell did I leave my keys last night?

  • KB8toSG8

    – Kobe said that he hasn’t ever spoken about retirement. “I’d like to make the decision based on whether I want to retire. … Not my body,” Bryant said.

    Bryant said he hopes he doesn’t flip-flop “That’s the point you have your family handcuff you to the chair,” Bryant said.

    Bryant said that he plans to sit around a lot after he retires, like a beached whale. “I’ll get chunky,” Bryant said.

  • KB8toSG8
  • namik

    “Obviously, everybody does go through that. That’s the point where you have your family handcuff you to a chair.”

    If I’m reading this correctly, Kobe’s point is more that it’d be hard to give up the game after so many years, not that he’d actually come back. Is this really that big of a thing coming from a guy who, whatever his flaws, is obviously obsessed with basketball? He does try to be like Mike an awful lot, but it’d be nice if people didn’t put words in his mouth.

  • JD

    Their something that is just wrong about someone retiring and then planning a comeback at the same time

  • http://slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Mj second comeback was not a disaster it wasnt great because he couldnt cerry his team to the playoffs, but he still put like 20,5,5 a night. better than what most dudes put up today at age 40.

  • http://sdjklff.com Jukai

    Anyone who doesn’t think Kobe is fundamental enough to score 20 at 38-40 JUST like Jordan did truly doesn’t grasp the idea of ‘basketball’

  • Benjamin Stone

    Jukai, I don’t think it’s a matter of whether or not he’s fundamental enough – he is, and ridiculously so; it’s a matter of his health. Cat’s got a lot of miles on those legs, straight outta high school with no retirement breaks like MJ. I would never doubt Kobe though. He’s proved himself to me, and I’m like the biggest MJ Stan ever. But you can’t knock Kobe’s talent and fundamentals. He’s a different animal than anyone else in the game today, still, even though he’s starting to age a bit.

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    Let’s cut the flack for Kobe “copying” Michael. It’s not like MJ invented this. Magic did it before Mike, remember him as a PF. Plenty of people have. He just have an honest answer about how hard he thinks it will be to give up the game.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Kobe Favre?

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    So Kobe has surgery on his knee and now everyone is questioning his health? You guys act like he’s playing like Webber when he came back from knee surgery…

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Anyone else predict the Lakers will get another “randomly chosen” schedule where they play mostly at home so that they can get the best record early?

  • http://sdjklff.com Jukai

    Benjamin Stone: We’re talking coming back from retirement, not playing straight through till 38. I’m considering him retiring two years from now and coming back. I can see him being in enough good health to make a decent comeback and still school all the young cats, given the minutes that Jordan got.

  • chrisnew

    GAY it was just the question asked, slams kind of hating on kobe with this one

  • rob stewart

    There is only one way Kobe could be considered better than Jordan. He would have to make the game winning jumper (just like Mike) to win his 6th championship. Then he would have to retire for good, thus leaving us with that great memmory etched in our minds/heart. This would not only make him equal to Jordan but better. The biggest game for a superstar is the game of self vs age.

  • hambone

    he should retire,then fcuk up his sneaker line by putting out horrid mash ups and overpriced garbage

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Teddy, funny you say that. Lakers have easiest schedule for first two months. Very coincidental huh?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t think Mike was better than 90 percent of hte league, but he might have been better than 90 percent of the cats at his position at the time. And, honestyl, that position was stacked in 2001, I don’t know what Eboy is talking about.
    Still, Mike was nice as hell, but he also forced the Wizards to construct their offense around a jump shooting 40-year old, then traded away young assets for a bull-headed Jerry Stackhouse who was not willing to play second fiddle to Mike by that point.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    “to the ABILITY he still had at that time, which was probably greater than 90% of the league at that moment” See the capitalized word in my sentence, Allen. And yes, at his position, that wouldn’t even have been an argument at that time. When you stay “stacked” btw, who are you referencing? Kobe and AI? Who else was a dominant 2 at that time? Ray Allen? I think you took my words out of context a bit, but there’s no way in hell you’re going to tell me that the position was stronger then than it is today.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    MJ played the 3 in Washington didn’t he?

  • kos87

    What a silly article!Kobe probably just wants to create some buzz.He doesn’t know when he will retire,let alone if he will come back when that happens, maybe 6-8 years from now.He can’t know what his physical and mental condition at that point will be.He knows people compare him to MJ and he just knowingly makes them continue this pointless conversation.

  • DEO

    kobe is the worst 4th quarter player in nba history….

    53 missed gamewinners in reg.season alone…most allime by far…

    11-36 .306% in 4th quarters in the 2010 finals….

    0 fgs made in 4th quarter or overtime in game 7 vs 2002 kings…

    shot 3-7 in the 4th quarter in game 7 vs 00 blazers….shaq was 3-3…

    to win the 2000 title,kobe was 1-8 in the 4th quarter of game 6 to win it all…..shaq shot 6-6 that quarter

    “kobe game winning nots”..footage doesnt lie

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Yeah DEO, let me nitpick specific games too!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I would say at swingman you had
    Stackhouse(who averaged 29 a game in D-Town)
    Allan Houston
    I mean, that wasn’t a list of bums. Many of those cats were top tier. Jordan was better than some of them, but off the top of my head, I don’t think he was better than:
    He was about equal with Marion, Sprewell and Artest when you consider both sides of the ball. (Old Mike was pretty much shot when it came to lateral quickness, and essentially was playing Karl Malone defense on the block.)
    So yes, better than 90 percent at his position, but the entire league includes Shaq, Duncan, Webber, Malone, Garnett, Kidd, Payton, and several others.
    I would have to look at how many cats were int he league at the time, and determine if jordan was in the top 10 percent. He might have been, but it’s not a lock.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And, Jordan took 1,500 and 1,300 shots those two years, roughly the same amount as Shaq over the same span. He was putting up a lot of shots.
    My memory of that period was the Wizards living and dying by Jordan’s jumpshot. And that’s a though way to win in the league. I felt like Jordan because of his drive to reach the playoffs, sacrificed the overall development of that team and players on that team. Sure, it was amazing what he did(I was in DC at the time and remember the excitement), but he did it at the expense of hte team in many ways.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I did the math. If we there were 32 teams in the League, with 15 roster spots per team, that’s 480 players.
    I can see Jordan as one of the top 50 players in the league at the time. But, he wasn’t top 25, and possibly not top 30.

  • Blackphantom

    He probably isn’t going to come out of retirement(when he does retire), considering how much of a toll 15 years of pro basketball has taken on his body. So this story is pretty over-hyped.

  • The Battlecat


  • Purple Reign

    MJ’snd comeback was not a horrible disater like the writer makes it out to be. But at the same time I remember dropping a double nickel on Jordan’s ass at Staples Center the last time Mike played there. Jordan lovers are going to come in here all but hurt saying “Man Jerry Stackhouse was guarding Kobe most of the time during that game” which is true but MJ also guarded him and was playing in that game when Kobe busted his ass for a double nickel.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    MJ comeback was a disaster, because like I stated before, HE DID NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. So MJ put up points on a sorry Wizard team and the Wizard team died everytime MJ miss shots or got tired. MJ was a mere mortal in Wizards uniform and that was sad watching him work to hard for everything, but hey at least he can gun for fun. BOOK IT!!

  • bdub

    b-dub stop stealing my name……….

  • DEO


  • Justin

    OK, first off everything Eboy said in his first comment I couldn’t agree more. The Seed, you are starting to become in that top tier of fools like JTaylor on this site. It is not a disaster to not make the playoffs when your team sucks. Him being on that team brought them closer than they ever could have without him. And for the love of God, if you’re going to keep writing that gay ass “BOOK IT!”, at least write something that one can “book”. Idiot.
    AllenP, I’m not sure how getting a team close to the playoffs hinders the development of the individual players. Those other players were awful, and his helping them develop would have really been in practice. He was notoriously ferocious in practice and that’s part of what he was trying to bring to the team when he came back. As for those people you named, have you watched the highlights where he played those guys and lit them up? Those supposedly equal or better players you listed couldn’t stop him at 38 years old. For anyone to say he wasn’t better than 90% of the league is moronic. You’re comparing him to when he was in his prime and that’s not right. Fundamentally and mentally, he was still better than almost anyone at his position.

  • Mark

    if he’s so bent on trying to be MJ, he must also try his hand on minor league baseball and high stakes gambling.

  • The Battlecat

    he’s not acting like Jordan.

  • Greg

    The writer of this article must be 15 and not have actually seen MJ’s comeback for the Wizards. As many people have pointed out, for a guy who was aged 38-40, it was no disaster. It was actually quite remarkable and had his knees not given him trouble, it might’ve even been better.