Bryant hints at retirement in Kimmel interview
MANILA, Philippines – NBA superstar Kobe Bryant said his career may be coming to an end soon even as he chases another championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live last weekend, the five-time champion Bryant admitted his 17-year career is nearing its end.
“I have been very blessed to be with a fantastic organization. I truly have and you know... It’s coming to an end and I’m happy that it will be with a Lakers uniform,” Bryant said.
When asked by Kimmel “how soon,” Bryant only said “It will be soon.”
“I don’t know, I’ve played 20 years. When I came to the league, I had an afro, and I can’t grow one now if I tried,” said Bryant, who is currently averaging 27.8 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
Bryant made no secret that he wants a sixth NBA championship – which would tie him with Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan – but insists he wants to play for no other team.
“I’m not going anywhere. I couldn’t possibly,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been with one organization. You just feel like you try to do your best that you can to win with the organization you’re with.”
“If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” Bryant added.
After a disastrous start to the season, the Lakers have turned things around and are now above .500 for the first time since November with a 32-31 record. They are tied with the Utah Jazz for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
“The start of the year was tough because you’ve got so many different pieces coming in,” said Bryant, referring to major off-season acquisitions Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.
“We obviously had a coaching change and we had to adjust to the system, and we had all these injuries. There was a lot of moving pieces,” he added. “But right now, I feel we’re in a good place.”
The Lakers will host the Chicago Bulls tomorrow at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.