By the time guys get their official trading card set commemorating their career in the NBA, they’ve normally already hung up the sneakers and are preparing to enter the Hall of Fame. Kobe Bryant might be 34 years old and a veteran of nearly 1,200 NBA games but he doesn’t feel old. Not yet. Ask the Clippers. He lit them up for 40 on Friday night. Or ask Portland. He gave them 30 two nights before that. I never believed Bryant was going to retire in two years, basically because, I don’t think he ever believed it either.
“My aim is to play until I’m 40 years old and I believe I can do that. This year, we added very good players to our squad. Steve Nash, Dwight Howard will make us stronger. Right now, things are not going very well but I believe it’ll get better soon.”
“During the lock-out, I had offers from Turkey and other countries. Beşiktaş was interested in me and they had talks with my agent, but I want to use the lock-out time to recover from my injuries and spend more time with my family so I turned the offers down. Who knows, maybe one day I play basketball in Turkey.”
That’s funny. I said the same thing about Bryant not long ago. Kobe’s smart. He won’t walk away from Dwight Howard, not with a few fleeting chances to enhance his legacy still available. Kobe says he’ll never allow himself to become a role player, and will retire before then. But if that’s the case, he’ll have to wait a while longer.
So far this year, even as the Lakers are stumbling around at 1-3, Bryant is shooting remarkably high percentages: just under 60 percent from the floor, 53 percent from deep and he’s missed only one free throw. Even at 34, he still has some juice left in the tank, and while many other NBA veterans hang on too long, and get tossed out by their former teams once they start to slide, I don’t think the Lakers want to move on from the Kobe era just yet.
When will Bryant retire?
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