Kobe Talks Retirement, Olympics…

Kobe Bryant

Arguably one of the greatest players of all time, news of Kobe Bryant’s retirement has shook the foundations of the NBA. But following the announcement, the L.A. Lakers shooting guard has opened up about the news, hinting at the chances of ending his career on the biggest stage in sports.

“I try to look at my legacy and how it impacts the future of the game. I’m not looking at my legacy from the standpoint of where I fit in with the greatest of all time.”

Wise words from a player long put right up against some of the biggest names in basketball. Kobe’s comparison with Michael Jordan has been a regular talking point, with YouTube videos easy to find showing their likenesses. But Bryant wouldn’t be drawn regarding his position amongst other NBA Hall of Famers.

Where does Kobe stand among the greats?

Still reeling from Kobe’s retirement? Take a look at our letter to the Black Mamba following his announcement…

“For me, it’s a moot point and a shallow argument. I think the most important thing and the most beautiful thing is how does your legacy impact the generation of players to come?” Bryant said, during a conference call with international journalists.

Despite this, many fans and journalists alike have Kobe within their top five of all time, thanks to his fiercely competitive nature, clutch performances and overall success. However, leaving the game is uncharted ground for the former NBA MVP, and he’s unsure of what he’ll be leaving following his departure.

“I don’t know if I’ll leave anything behind – the training, the actual act of going out and playing, scoring and defending and doing those sort of things, kind of like the shell of who I’ve been for the last 20 years. I think that’s what I’ll leave behind.

“What carries on with me is the spirit that represents those physical manifestations, so the understanding of perseverance, how to deal with failure, how to handle success, understanding how to communicate with others, things like that are the things that I’ll carry with me forever.

“So although I’m leaving behind the physical shell of what I’ve been for 20 years, everything else I’m carrying with me forever”.
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One Final Season for Kobe…

Of course, fans will have one final season to take in all that Kobe’s offering, although he’s eager for this season not to be known as a farewell tour.

“I don’t consider it much of a tour, I think the way it’s been going has been so beautiful. It’s just like I’m paying my respects to the fans and their doing the same in turn.

“I just think that it’s a beautiful moment that takes place after 20 years of playing, for me to say thank you to them and them to say thank you back, I couldn’t have imagined it being any better”.

It’s obvious that the fans all around the league mean a lot to the Black Mamba, even those who aren’t cheering his name all the time. However, with Rio hosting one event this summer where the majority fans will be on his side, Kobe hasn’t ruled out taking in one final Olympic experience in the twilight of his career.

Will we see Kobe in the Olympics again?

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“It’s not something I’m absolutely pressing for but being part of the Olympic experience is a beautiful thing.

“It would be a beautiful thing to finish my career playing internationally. But that being said we will see how it goes.”

It seems that even an ageing Kobe Bryant can’t quite fight the desire to go for one last trip on the international merry-go-round…

The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a very special NBA Christmas Day. Catch all the NBA Christmas Day games from 5pm live on BT Sport and via NBA LEAGUE PASS at www.nba.tv.

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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