Even though he has one more year after this on his contract, Kobe Bryant is already starting to reflect on his career. It seems a bit premature, but considering how closed off he's been for the last 17 years, it's nice to see him talking about things.
In a recent interview with ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the Black Mamba talked about playing with all these young players and their mentalities. Even though he's getting more personal, he's still as cocky as ever. Kobe said of how he's changed the sport:
"Just by observation of some of the younger players that I face now, they wind up having a similar mentality that I had. Because growing up, they were obviously watching me when I was 21, 22 years old and just kind of by any means necessary get things done, not afraid of the big moment and extremely competitive. They all have these work ethics now and most of them get up at five in the morning to train like I do. It’s pretty cool."
There hasn't been a guy who consistently plays with the flu, hooked up to IVs and balls out every time, including his most recent 40 point game. He will try to win no matter what, and cocky or not, he'll definitely be remembered for his drive.
Kobe also talked about what it would have been like to work with Phil Jackson again, saying:
"You always want to kind of reconnect because you’ve had that relationship with him forever. It’s the same thing with Steve (Nash) with Coach (Mike) D’Antoni. They’ve had that relationship. So, it’s always a part of me that misses that, but I’m very thankful and very happy for the years that we’ve spent."
It has never been a secret that Kobe felt that Jackson was a father figure to him, and that certainly would have been nice for Kobe to have that again. Also, if Phil had come to LA, then it's interesting to think if Kobe would have signed another short contract.
He's said that after his current contract with the Lakers is up, he'll leave the NBA and potentially play overseas somewhere.
There's still just under two years in Kobe's contract so it is a bit early to start reminiscing, but if he's talking, everyone is listening.