When LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the recent free agency, rumors and speculations started to circulate that NBA legend Kobe Bryant might consider coming out of retirement and help the Purple and Gold win another NBA championship title. Bryant decided to end his NBA career after suffering multiple injuries, but his last NBA game against the Utah Jazz proved that he still has something left in his tank.
Aside from an NBA comeback, there are also speculations that Kobe Bryant is interested in playing in the BIG3 league next year. Kobe Bryant and his family have already denied the rumors that the Lakers legend will consider playing professional basketball again. However, his former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said in a recent episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq (h/t USA Today’s For The Win) that a Kobe NBA comeback is possible.
“He will never go to the BIG3 before he does the NBA. I’m just saying … Listen, everybody knows who Kobe is. You mean to tell me Kobe can’t give somebody a nice 15-20 minutes a game? That’s all … If he came back at 40, the announcement would be the biggest sports announcement in history … He don’t even have to play great. Just come play 15-20 minutes a game as a Laker. And if they happen to do well, it would probably be one of the greatest stories in NBA history. Kobe likes stuff like that, that’s all I’m saying.”
In 2008, Kobe Bryant felt Pau Gasol needed a little motivation. So he hung the Olympic gold medal Team USA won over Spain in Pau’s locker.— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) September 12, 2018
Pau called him “an a--hole," but Kobe says it motivated Pau to go to another level.https://t.co/hE3QpJ6ZYi pic.twitter.com/mepwEsvfcI
At 40, Kobe Bryant can no longer return to his old self, but he can still be a reliable contributor to a team who is in dire need of an additional star power. With the presence of LeBron James in Los Angeles, Shaquille O’Neal said that Bryant no longer has to carry all the burden on his shoulders like he did before. O’Neal believes Bryant only need to play 15-20 minutes per game if ever he considers wearing the Purple and Gold again.
Seeing Kobe Bryant and LeBron James play together in one team will surely add thrill and excitement in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. As Shaq noted, if the Lakers perform well having Bryant again, it will be one of the greatest stories in NBA history. However, as of now, there is no strong indication that Bryant will ever consider playing again, even for the Lakers. Knowing Kobe, it also remains a big question mark if he is willing to accept a reduced role or come off the bench.