Kobe Bryant: I’m Retiring Unless Something Changes

Kobe Bryant: I’m Retiring Unless Something Changes
Bucks @ Lakers Staples Center 1/15/2013 Fido / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

Kobe Bryant has swallowed the bitter pill. There is bad news for fans still hoping for another season from the Los Angeles Lakers legend.


Bryant hasn’t officially announced that this would be his last season. In multiple pre-season interviews, Bryant left the door open for a return. In fact, some speculated Bryant would join a championship contender to pursue that elusive Michael Jordan-tying sixth ring. But 11 games into the season (of which Bryant has played 8), realization has sunk in, so it seems.

“If something changes, I’ll come back and play next season,” Bryant said Thursday on SiriusXM Radio. “(But) If something doesn’t change, this is it for me,” the 37-year-old added.

It’s hard to beat Father Time. Bryant, in his 20th NBA season, is aggregating 16.9 points, 3.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds from 8 games at a shocking field goal percentage of 33. His PER of 12.46 is historically bad. Going by Bryant’s high standards, these numbers are hard to fathom.

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Since the 2-9 Lakers have zero chance of entertaining postseason hopes, there is little motivation for Bryant to continue. In fact, one NBA GM reckons Bryant won’t make it to February.

We can conclude that there won’t be any major improvement going forward.

Bryant is in the final year of his contract with Lakers. Last year, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak hinted that the Purple & Gold want to look ahead to the future and move past their long-reigning franchise player. Lakers coach Byron Scott hasn’t featured Bryant in back-to-back games. After helping Lakers end a four-game losing streak against the Detroit Pistons Sunday, Bryant sat out during the defeat to Phoenix Suns on Monday.

Bryant is expected to play against the Toronto Raptors tomorrow.