The front-office in Los Angeles is treating the upcoming season, Kobe Bryant’s 20th in the NBA, as his last one.
But Kobe, 36, has yet to make up his mind about retirement. The Black Mamba says a final decision will be made next summer.
Bryant is happy with the Lakers’ haul in the NBA Draft and free agency—silent treatment notwithstanding—and believes their humiliating two-year postseason drought will soon come to an end.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
Q: Why do you still put your body through this after all the years and injuries? […] Kobe: “I’m crazy. Ha, ha, ha. I love playing. I enjoy it. It’s weird. You go from as a kid loving the game, thinking you will be able to play forever to being where I am now and understanding there is some finality to it. It’s amazing to take a step back and look at that art. You’re kind of the opposite of starting out as a kid. You’re sitting here at 36 and soon to be 37 years old, it’s amazing.”
Q: When you see the mammoth money that could be available to you as a free agent next summer, does that make it more attractive to continue playing? […] Kobe: “Zero. Zero. I’ve never played for the money. It’s never moved me. Money can come and go. I have a perspective about finances. The family is fine. What is more money going to bring other than more money? I have my family, I have my health and we’re comfortable financially and that is a massive blessing. I don’t want to undervalue the importance of generating any type of whatever. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m underappreciative of that or not thankful for that. But at the same, what is really important? What is the important thing? I never played for money. When I laced my sneakers up when I was a kid in Italy I wasn’t thinking about money. I had no idea how much Magic [Johnson] or [Larry] Bird got paid. I played it because I loved it.”
Q: Can this Lakers team make the playoffs? […] Kobe: “Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”