While Kobe Bryant is fixed on not letting his injuries determine when he retires, Charles Barkley certainly wants him to quit.
Despite playing only 41 games in the past two seasons, Bryant is set to don the purple Lakers jersey again for this year’s NBA season. He will provide tough love to the team this season, but after that, he isn’t sure what his next move will be.
Although 36-year-old Bryant has spoken of possibly retiring at the end of this season, he may still participate in the Rio Olympics in 2016, play overseas, or even return to the NBA. And while the super-competitive athlete has set up an interesting life post-basketball, everyone knows that walking away from the game is easier said than done.
However, legendary basketball player Charles Barkley, 52, hopes that Bryant will be able to walk away. He admitted in a recent radio interview that he wants this season to be Bryant’s last.
Barkley confessed that he thought he himself played “two years too long.” He also gave the example of Patrick Ewing, saying that he didn’t like seeing great players like Ewing struggle. Barkley also went on to talk about Michael Jordan, claiming that him going back to play for the Wizards didn’t make a difference.
“Kobe’s obviously not going to walk away from $30 million. This should be like a farewell tour, play 20, 25 minutes a night,” added Barkley. He went on to predict that the Lakers probably wouldn’t make the playoffs and that Bryant’s best playing days were behind him. Barkley also said that people don’t get better as they get older, they die. He seemed negative about people’s belief in Bryant getting better, solemnly adding, “Father Time is undefeated.”
But it is impossible to predict Bryant’s plans for the future, as the man himself has no idea. He is keeping his options open for a good reason. While it is most likely that the ace player will retire, even if he does decide to come back on the off-chance, the Buss family will welcome him back with open (and loaded) arms.
Helin, K., “Charles Barkley on Kobe Bryant: ‘This should be like a farewell tour,’” NBC Sports web site, August 17, 2015; http://goo.gl/s633tB.