Latest News, NBA / Jul 2, 2013 / 12:31 pm

Driven By Injury, Kobe Wants To Play At Least 3 More Years

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (photo. Nike Basketball)

Kobe Bryant is now saying he wants to play “at least another three years.” You’ll be surprised why.

The Lakers guard told Lakers.com he is not only motivated by his devastating Achilles injury, but also that Tim Duncan and the Spurs inspired him this year.

The Black Mamba recently returned to the court for the first time since his April 13 surgery, posting a photo of himself shooting free throws on Instagram. And while many assumed the injury would bring him closer to retiring, Bryant is saying it’s actually made him more determined to keep playing, to keep breaking records and to keep proving people wrong.

“San Antonio getting so close to winning No. 5 probably hurt me a little bit too,” he added to Lakers.com. “I want to make sure I push the ring count out a little further. It was really, really close there.”

He also admitted to Lakers.com about the Spurs and Duncan:

“It’s a testament to what skill can do. To what us old guys can do if you play together, if you play with one mind and one purpose, you can accomplish great things,” he said. “It was inspiration for me and hopefully inspirational for the city of Los Angeles and this organization of what we can do, how the tide can change fairly quickly and we’ll be looking at a parade.”

Even when Bryant seemed sure he was retiring once his current contract is up, one more year at over $30 million, I never believed him. Something would happen to get his competitive juices going again, and ironically, it was a debilitating injury. Now Bryant, always driven by challenges, has his biggest one yet: can he stay near the top of the league after suffering through an Achilles’ tendon injury at 34 years old?

But there is bad news in all of this for Lakers fans. This can’t be a promising turn of events for Dwight Howard, who’s meeting with Bryant and the rest of the Lakers’ brass today to talk about his status for next season. Howard has a rocky relationship with Kobe, in part because the guard refuses to give up the team’s driver seat. If Kobe intends to play until he is almost 40, I’m not sure that’s a plus for Los Angeles in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.

How long should Kobe play for?

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