At the end of November, Kobe Bryant officially announced that he was retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA after the current season. Some really thought that he would be around forever, but that isn’t meant to be. Now, the real rumor going around is that while he may be done playing for the L.A. Lakers, is Bryant never going to play basketball again?
That is a question that has been posed many times already, and it’s hard to believe that he would ever make a comeback of any kind to the NBA. Playing for a team that is currently 5-26 is enough to dampen the spirit of anyone, and Bryant won’t play for another team other than the Lakers.
Well, he won’t play for another team other than the Lakers in the NBA.
According to NJ, the idea of playing over in Europe has now started being tossed around, and Bryant has already had something to say about it.
Playing overseas and finishing his career outside of the NBA is something that Kobe Bryant once embraced and thought was a possibility. It’s no surprise that he would want to play as long as humanly possible, but any team in the NBA would gladly have him.
Still, it doesn’t look like playing in Europe or China is in the plans of Bryant, and it’s not by his own personal choice either.
“I would have loved to play overseas for a season. But it’s not going to happen…my body won’t let me.”
As for playing though, Bryant’s days on the court may not be totally behind him. There is still the strong possibility that he could end up a member of the Team USA Men’s Basketball Team and play over in Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
Bryant isn’t expecting to immediately make Team USA and play in the Olympics, but it’s a possible option.
“It’s not something that I’m absolutely pressing for, but being a part of the Olympics is such a beautiful experience. It would be a beautiful thing to finish my career on an international stage.”
Lakers Nation has made solid points that it is time for some of the veterans to step aside in Los Angeles and let the “kids” take over. There is indeed a youth movement with the L.A. Lakers, and Bryant wasn’t forced out because, let’s face it, who would force out one of the greatest players in NBA history?
Kobe Bryant’s body simply won’t let him keep playing, even though he would like to, and the Lakers would love him to keep going. Well, love him to keep going if he could keep the style, tempo, and effectiveness he had in the past.
Now though, the Lakers are rebuilding and looking to begin a new era that is post-Kobe Bryant and bringing in a lot of youth. There is a lot of great young talent in Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Jordan Clarkson.
The Lakers’ record is leading them to an overall first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and yet another big and young talent as well. In a year or two, the Lakers could end up in the playoffs and start a whole new collection of great talent in Los Angeles.
Playing without Kobe Bryant is going to be different for the L.A. Lakers and the entire NBA. It will be weird for fans to watch the game and know he is nowhere to be found. His retirement is ending his career in the NBA, but for the sake of all those that love to see him play, hopefully it’s not totally ending his time on the court.
[Image by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images]