In his rookie season, a young Kobe Bryant said that he would probably retire at the age of 35. Fast forward 17 years later and Kobe hasn't deviated all that much. “It’s still probably accurate.”
"That's a long time to be playing," Bryant said. "It'll be the last year of my contract. I don't know if I wlll play any longer than that. I don't know. It's just a possibility. It's not something I even give it much thought to, but it's a possibility. It could happen."
There are some superstars that have stayed on the court longer than they should’ve and there are other who retired prematurely only to end up coming back. Obviously, Kobe doesn’t want to make that same mistake. He wants to finish on top, but at the point of exhaustion.
Asked when Kobe thinks he’ll know for sure and he responded by saying, "At the end of that year, probably, I think you'll know. I'm not sure. I think you've seen so many players retire, think they know and then come back. I don't want to be one of those guys, but I know they've all said it too. It must be tougher than it sounds to be able to retire and know when that moment is actually there. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, I guess."
The way that Kobe has adjusted his game and has been playing of late, it’s hard to see him retiring in just two more seasons. You can be sure that Kobe still has his eyes on breaking Kareem's scoring record, not to mention chasing after his elusive 6th championship ring. Kobe is too much of a competitor to simply retire in the next two years without achieving at least one of those things before he sets off into the California sunset.