Kobe Bryant has admitted to fearing what lies ahead of him when he finally decides to step away from the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA.
Speaking at an event to publicize an upcoming Showtime documentary focussing on Kobe during the Lakers tumultuous 2013-14 campaign, Bryant said the thought of what the next chapter in his life could hold is a frightening prospect:
"I'm afraid, too," Kobe revealed to a packed out auditorium.
"You really have to lean on muses and mentors going forward, just as I did as a kid. It's about having that next wave of things, which is scary as hell, but it's fun at the same time."
Kobe is busy preparing for what will be his 17th season in the NBA with the famous Lakers franchise, and having been restricted to just six regular season appearances last campaign due to injury, many expect his recent two-year deal to be his last as a professional basketball player.
What next for Kobe?
Having been one of the leading lights in the NBA for well over a decade, Kobe Bryant will not find himself short of options when he does finally retire however.
With a huge business portfolio, including the entire Kobe brand and recent investment in the likes of Body Armor sports drink the 36-year-old has set himself up for a productive post-basketball career.
Adding his current lucrative $48.5 million, two-year deal and you'd have to think that would quell some of the distress Bryant may face when he leaves behind the game he loves.
What next for the Lakers?
Of course NBA fans still have at least a couple of years left to witness one of the best players of his generation, but the idea of Kobe ending on the ultimate high with an NBA Finals appearance seem unlikely just now.
The Lakers are still without a coach following the dismissal of Mike D'Antoni earlier this summer, and missed out on big name free agency signings such as Carmelo Anthony.
But even with long time teammate Pau Gasol having left Staples Center in recent weeks, Bryant is happy with how the Lakers front office is handling the transitional period:
"I can sit here and tell you with 100 percent honesty that I'm happy with the effort of the organization put forward this summer," the 16-time All-Star explained.