Kobe Bryant is a bonafide Los Angeles Lakers legend. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever.
The star shooting guard could probably go on an actual shooting spree and there still be an argument between Lakers fans about hanging his number 24 from the rafters or not.
But according to new reports, the five-time MVP could be set to leave his beloved Lakers in 2016, retiring from basketball when his contract runs out.
Speaking in an interview with NBA.com published on Tuesday, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he believes Bryant will retire when his deal expires in 2016.
"All indications are, to me, from him, that this [two-year contract extension] is going to be it," Kupchak told the website. "If somebody's thinking of buying a ticket three years from now to see Kobe play, I would not do that. Don't wait. Do it this year."
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The 36-year old Bryant is 21 games into his 19th season in the league, and it seems like old father time is even catching up with the Black Mamba.
Surgeries and subsequent rehabilitations on injured achilles and knees have definitely slowed Kobe down as he reaches the twilight of his career, and despite leading the league in points, Kobe has shot poorly.
Bryant told Yahoo! Sports last week that he still enjoys the daily grind of the NBA but when that enjoyment ends, so will his career.
"It's a lifestyle, an absolute around-the-clock lifestyle. There's no getting away from it," Bryant told the website. "I've always enjoyed that aspect of it, the process of it, the building of it. But there will come a point when I don't anymore, and then it will be over for me."
When Kobe does eventually bow out, he will do so as one of the greats of the game, up there with the likes of Michael Jordan, Kareem and Wilt Chamberlain as one of the true pioneers of basketball that could easily end up on a Mount Rushmore of basketball.