Kobe Bryant hasn't exactly enjoyed the best season in 2014/15 with the Los Angeles Lakers, and now Bryant has admitted that it may actually be his last one as a professional basketball player.
Bryant has had to take various games off because of injury and the Lakers find themselves already out of the race for the playoffs with an awful record of 12-29. When just taking that into account But, Kobe still has one year left on his contract which will pay him $20m+ to stay next season which as we have seen with a certain Steve Nash, it is downright impossible for a professional athlete to just leave that money on the table.
Speaking to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Time, Kobe has admitted that whilst no decision has been made yet, he’s at least contemplated hanging his jersey up after this season.
Plaschke wrote in the Times that "When asked whether he has considered retiring at the end of this season, one year before the end of his Lakers contract, he nods his head in agreement."
“I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t crossed my mind,” Kobe said. “Right now I doubt it … but anything’s possible. My body is hurting like crazy, around the clock, and if I don’t want to do this anymore, I won’t do it,” he added.
Kobe has 25 million reasons why it would be a shock if he were to turn his back on basketball and take retirement at the end of this season. Any normal human being would never turn down that much money, but Kobe is Kobe. He has millions already thanks to his long playing career and will also be rather easily set in retirement thanks to his marketing potential and the fact he has side businesses that are already reaping rewards for him.
But this is the first time we've actually known Kobe Bryant to be human. We've seen him in actual physical pain, slowed down by father time and the wear and tear of nearly two decades playing professional sport.
It's going to be hard to see Kobe eventually go and take his place among the greats, but it will also be very interesting to see what happens to the Lakers post-Bryant. That will be the next chapter in the Los Angeles Lakers storied history.