Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. And after 19 seasons and five championships, the “Black Mamba” is mulling retirement after next season.
In a Q&A with Yahoo Sports, Bryant said that though it is possible that this could be his last NBA season, it is still tough to decide if it will be.
“But could this be the last [season]? Absolutely. It’s tough to decide. It’s really tough to make those types of decisions. Players I have spoken to say, ‘Kobe you will know.’”
Bryant also added that he will make his decision to retire based on how he feels about the game and the process of playing it, and should know after the upcoming season.
“I’m making this very simple. Either I like playing the game and going through this process or I don’t. I try to strip it down to the simplest form. Either I like playing some more or I don’t. But I think that decision needs to be made after the season. It’s hard to make a decision like that before the season.”
From the 1999-00 season to the 2001-02 season, Bryant and the Lakers were unstoppable, winning three championship titles in a row. But after a couple of seasons of falling short in the playoffs, and the eventual departure of Shaquille O’Neal after the 2003-04 season, the Lakers’ glory days ended.
For the next few seasons, Bryant and the Lakers suffered. But they rose again when Pau Gasol came over from the Memphis Grizzlies. With the new big man, the Lakers were able to win back-to-back titles in ’08-09 and ’09-10.
Over the past couple of seasons, Bryant has been plagued with injury. And to make it worst, the Lakers are in rebuilding mode, and have been at the bottom of the conference two years in a row.
But Bryant is optimistic and believes his team will make it this upcoming season.
When asked if he thinks the Lakers will make the playoffs, Bryant said: “Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players.”
Do you think this will be Bryant’s last season? And how do you think the Lakers will do? Share your thoughts below.