He may only be 36, but L.A. Lakers player Kobe Bryant is already seriously thinking about retiring his basketball career. When asked about the possibility of the next NBA season being his last, Bryant admitted that it “absolutely” could be.
The Lakers’ general manager, Mitch Kupchak, has previously said on more than one occasion that Bryant has suggested to him that he wants to retire after his two-year contract is up. “He has indicated to me that this is it,” Kupchak said in a radio interview back in May. But hearing it straight from Kobe Bryant himself has made the possibility that much realer.
There’s still also the chance though that Bryant will keep playing—he admits that even after talking to other players about it, he still hasn’t made his mind up for sure. “It’s tough to decide. It’s really tough to make those types of decisions. Players I have spoken to say, ‘Kobe, you will know,’” Bryant recently told Yahoo Sports, adding that he’s going to wait till the upcoming season ends to decide.
When asked if he’s tempted to continue playing for the financial perks of being a free agent next year, Bryant stressed that he’s never played for the money and he’s not going to let it sway his decision when the time comes to decide about retiring.
Whether he retires now or later, Kobe Bryant has accepted that the end is nearer than he thought it would be: “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.”
Spears, M.J., “Q&A: Kobe Bryant talks retirement, playoffs and life after basketball,” Yahoo Sports web site, August 4, 2015; http://goo.gl/dmhs5l.
Gomez, J., “Kobe Bryant expected to retire next season, Lakers GM says,” SB Nation web site, May 22, 2015; http://goo.gl/01WQ9F.