Kobe Bryant is back and the Black Mamba is looking to make up for lost time by taking it to defenses and filling up that box score after a year away.
Whilst there are still doubts lingering about Kobe's fitness and long term prospects, Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss has absolutely no worries about Bryant, admitting today that she wants the 36-year old to sign a new contract with the franchise when this one runs out.
Now, we all know how much of a hot topic Kobe's contract that he is on now is in the world of basketball. Some feel that Bryant was selfish when he accepted such a huge salary and that it would detract from the team's chance to win. But, according to Buss, the Lakers are quite happy with the deal and want him to be a Laker even after it runs out in 2016.
“I hope not,” Buss said when asked if she thought Bryant would retire at the end of his deal. “I really hope not. I mean I’m a person who watched Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) play until he was 42 (years old). Jimmy Connors played on my World Team Tennis team (of which she was the general manager), the LA Strings, that summer that he went into the US Open at age 39 and made the semis at 39 years old."
Buss would go on to admit that the human body eventually breaks down always, but she is right in her belief that Kobe, if anyone, can carry on longer than the usual man, probably due to his incredible will to win and the fact that it is possible he isn't entirely human.
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"So I’ve seen it. I know you can’t beat Father Time, but there are those athletes who can transcend the average age of retirement. And if anyone can do that, my money is on the Black Mamba,” Buss added.
Buss has every right to be optimistic for the future with Kobe. If the shooting guard can stay healthy than he has a serious chance of being an MVP calibre player. No one else is going to get close to Kobe in scoring terms on the Lakers roster this year and he is bound to average over 20 points a game at least.