Kobe Bryant puts off retirement till 40

11/5/12 in NBA   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

The Black Mamba just wants to keep us guessing.
Whether it’s another effort by Kobe Bryant to throw off his opponents or he’s still figuring out things himself, we’ll never know. But what we do know is that these mind-game type statements are in line with Kobe Bryant’s often bold and open expression of thoughts. Remember the Los Angeles Lakers’ fiasco of a failed Pau Gasol trade from last season. Kobe Bryant had the fans, teammates and the entire Los Angeles Lakers organization confused with a series of conflicting statements regarding his views on the trade rumors.
So why give up on the fun now, especially when you though Kobe Bryant would be hanging his kicks by the end of the current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in two years.
Besides the four-year extension on his former retirement plans gives Kobe Bryant ample opportunity to catch on to Michael Jordan’s title count (six) and even take a shot at the NBA all-time scoring record.
“My aim is to play until I’m 40 years old and I believe I can do that,” said Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant’s change of heart could be attributed to the Los Angeles Lakers’ addition of center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash. With two new All-Star players, the Los Angeles Lakers have the bearings of a title-contending team and prospects of winning just more than one championship in the seasons to come.
“This year, we added very good players to our squad. Steve Nash, Dwight Howard will make us stronger,” stated Kobe Bryant. “Right now, things are not going very well but I believe it’ll get better soon.”
Since being drafted 13th overall out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia at the age of just 17 by the Charlotte Bobcats in 1996, Kobe Bryant has played at a high level for 16 seasons and won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. If he plays along with his recent claims, Kobe Bryant could reach his 23rd season in the league.
Kobe Bryant averaged 26.8 points on a 59.7 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds through the Los Angeles Lakers’ first three games despite sitting out a couple of practices due to a foot injury. With the Los Angeles Lakers new projected starting lineup cast, Kobe Bryant’s found a fresh role on the team that is going to be less physically straining for the 14-time All-Star. That means that Kobe can maintain (or improve on) his 25.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists career average for a couple of more years. After all, Kobe Bryant’s playing his most efficient ball in over a decade right now, which doesn’t make it time for any sort of retirement.
But Kobe has previously hinted that he’d only stick around to play high level of ball, until he is no longer able to put up 20 points per game. And although there are seemingly no signs of his past nagging knee issues, Kobe Bryant’s continuity in the league and retirement plans are all dependent on his health.
So there are other doors open as well if Kobe Bryant plans to play his later less productive years elsewhere such as Europe or China.
“During the lockout, I had offers from Turkey and other countries. Beşiktaş was interested in me and they had talks with my agent,” revealed Kobe Bryant. “But I want to use the lockout 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.”
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