Since the arrival of LeBron James in the summer of 2018, rumors have been continuously circulating that five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant might come out of retirement and return to the Los Angeles Lakers. During that time, the Lakers were in dire need of an additional star power to help James carry the team in the deep Western Conference. However, even though the Lakers have managed to pair James with All-Star center Anthony Davis and give him a better supporting cast, fans still continue to urge Bryant to unretire and wear the Purple and Gold jersey again.
Some people believe that coming out of retirement to team up with James and Davis would give Bryant a strong chance of matching Michael Jordan’s record of championship titles. However, in a recent appearance on Kristine Ledlow and Candace Parker’s podcast, which is currently posted on Twitter, Bryant revealed that he has no intention of taking the “easier route” to win his sixth NBA championship title.
“No. No. No. No no no,” Bryant said, as quoted by CBS Sports. “I like my rings the hard way. I like fighting for them and earning them. I don’t like jumping to the easier route, so I wouldn’t take it.”
However, though Bryant no longer considers playing in the NBA again, he admitted that the improvements the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers made this summer made him wish that he could be part of the ongoing rivalry in Los Angeles.
“It’s awesome. As a competitor, this is a competitor’s dream to participate in something like that,” Bryant said. “It’s fun, and I’m enjoying it just like everybody else. Both teams are great, but you got some great teams around the league, too, that are playing well. What I’m more fascinated to see is how the coaching brings this collection of talent together.”
It is easy to understand why even a man like Bryant couldn’t help himself but get hyped by the ongoing rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers. After years of being stuck in mediocrity, the two Los Angeles teams currently have a realistic chance of winning the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. Aside from having two legitimate NBA superstars, both teams are loaded with quality veterans and role players.
However, Bryant believes that the Lakers and the Clippers aren’t the only NBA teams that have championship-caliber rosters. Compared to the previous years where there were “Big Threes” and “Superteams,” the league is currently filled with NBA teams with superstar duos which made the ongoing season less predictable and more exciting. However, in order for those talented groups to succeed, Bryant said that they need to “systematically” figure out how to “execute as a team.”