Report: Kobe says this could be his final season


VIDEO: Kobe Bryant talks about whether this is the end of his era in the NBA

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The question will linger perhaps until this time next year.

Is it over?

Was the 2015-16 season Kobe Bryant‘s last?

And if it is the end, how will his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers and in the NBA play out with the likes of Lakers owners Jeanie Buss and Jim Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak and new faces like D’Angelo Russell, Roy Hibbert and Lou Williams all having a say in his finale?

Kobe addressed those pressing issues, and much more, in an exclusive Q&A with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

Q: Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has hinted that next season can be your last. Could it be?

Kobe: “We haven’t set anything in stone and I’ve talked about it before. But could this be the last [season]? Absolutely. It’s tough to decide. It’s really tough to make those types of decisions. Players I have spoken to say, ‘Kobe you will know.’

“I’m making this very simple. Either I like playing the game and going through this process or I don’t. I try to strip it down to the simplest form. Either I like playing some more or I don’t. But I think that decision needs to be made after the season. It’s hard to make a decision like that before the season.”

Q: Would you want a farewell tour?

Kobe: “It’s hard to do that type of stuff because I don’t know if I’m going to retire or not. It’s not a swan song when it all has not been written.”

Q: How does your body feel now and what is the difference between now and entering training camp last season?

Kobe: “The body is good. I feel good. … My lower body is solid. There are no question marks on what I can do. My body and my legs feel extremely strong and healthy. That’s the big difference. My upper body, I’ve been doing the weights and stuff like that. I’ve been kind of building up the upper body strength. The biggest change is I feel very, very solid in my legs.”

Q: Why do you still put your body through this after all the years and injuries?

Kobe: “I’m crazy. Ha, ha, ha. I love playing. I enjoy it. It’s weird. You go from as a kid loving the game, thinking you will be able to play forever to being where I am now and understanding there is some finality to it.

“It’s amazing to take a step back and look at that art. You’re kind of the opposite of starting out as a kid. You’re sitting here at 36 and soon to be 37 years old, it’s amazing.”

Q: How do you fight the pain and do the needed rehabilitation?

Kobe: “I just go. Once I make the decision I am going to take this challenge on, I never waver and I never question the investment. I already made the decision. You have those painful moments, but you just keep on moving.”

Q: When you see the mammoth money that could be available to you as a free agent next summer, does that make it more attractive to continue playing?

Kobe: “Zero. Zero. I’ve never played for the money. It’s never moved me. Money can come and go. I have a perspective about finances. The family is fine. What is more money going to bring other than more money? I have my family, I have my health and we’re comfortable financially and that is a massive blessing.

“I don’t want to undervalue the importance of generating any type of whatever. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m underappreciative of that or not thankful for that. But at the same, what is really important? What is the important thing? I never played for money. When I laced my sneakers up when I was a kid in Italy I wasn’t thinking about money. I had no idea how much Magic [Johnson] or [Larry] Bird got paid. I played it because I loved it.”

While Kobe insists there is nothing set in stone in terms of if this being his final season, the fact that he’s even entertaining the possibility is worth noting.

The end of an era, or perhaps the end of his era in the NBA, could be on its way soon.

77 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Hoping this yr will be healthy for Kobe.

  2. sid says:

    I sometimes wonder about the term ballhog – why is it that Kobe got that label on him on such bad terms?
    There are other players who are “ballhogs” as well – but never been mentioned as those.

    In 19 seasons KB took around 25k shots
    e.g.
    Wilt took around 24k shots within 14 seasons
    Malone also 19 seasons and took a rough 26k
    MJ – 15 seasons and a good 24.5k shots

    It means that MJ took nearly the same amount of shots KB24 took but with 4 seasons less – and nobody is calling MJ a ballhog.

    So looking over top-notch shooters and all-time-top-scorers it seems not what u would expect when u hear all that ballhog talk.

    Sure he is not the most effectiv hitting them but somehow he managed to hit a fair share of hoops. Otherwise with these low amount of shots over 19 seasons u do not be #3 on the all-time-scorer list!

    To tell the truth – all this ballhog talk seems to be a fair share of haters talk – its so sad – guys/girls enjoy the game!

  3. Marc D Montgomery says:

    Kobe, you are from a special breed of EXCEPTIONAL TALENT, & you will be greatly missed. If your body & legs feel good, keep playing! ! ! I’m 51 years old & I’m in GREAT SHAPE. I still play basketball. So keep doing what u know how to do best.

  4. Instinct says:

    Being competitive, LOYALTY to the LA nation, and bringing out the best in other players like Gasol, Bynum, Odom. He never left the LA nation when it was going down, just be inspired with LA’s Kobe, Dallas’ Nowitzki, Spurs’ Duncan. Where is your LBJ at?

  5. Andy Graham says:

    Kobe is indeed one of the Greatest to play the game. I am his biggest fan. It will be a sad day when he leaves, but he did give us great hope,entertainment and he also made the lakers so enjoyable to watch for 20 years-thanks Kobe! Ps: I know your not done yet-1 more Mvp!

  6. k says:

    Uhh, Kobe was drafted in 1996, his first season being the 96-97 season, thus making the upcoming season his 20th in the league, not 19th.

  7. basketball fan says:

    Leave Kobe alone already, One of the greatest players ever by example and a true winner in every area of the game. He does not have to win a popularity contest to be great and he has made players around him better. Pau Gasol, Ron Artest
    Andrew Bynum etc. Just enjoy basketball as we all have issues in our lives but on the court Kobe is one of the greatest ever
    Rings, stats etc. God Bless to Alll

  8. Doe says:

    Next year , he will be part of a big 3 in New York where he play along side of Carmelo Anthony and and some one else to get his 6 ring

  9. good to stay in LA but in CLIPPERS uniform

  10. sandeman says:

    At his advanced age of 37 haha he’s still better than 80% of the guys in the league. 80% is arguable, He’s probably better than a higher percentage but I haven’t seen him play in a while and I hope he reads the comments 😉

  11. sandeman says:

    Besides Lebron is there another player whose question of retirement would generate this much conversation? That’s why he’s being paid what he is, and that’s why he’s worth it.

  12. ko0kiE says:

    kobe never played for the money.. but he crippled the lakers with his last contract…

    • watson says:

      No he didn’t. the Lakers offered him that contract he didn’t request it.
      If I offer you $100,000.00 you going to say no thank you just give a $10.00.
      PLEASE

    • Money is NOT importand to you ,koby? when you sue you mom seriously? I hated your selfish play between the lines on the court. You drove Shaq, Coach “He’s uncoachable” Jackson, Howard, Karl Malone, Garry Patton and other super star players not wanting to be on “my team”. In your first All Star game, waved THE super stars away, and put on your hot-dog show only to throw up an air ball for the “stars” to lose. You’re one of the greatest INDIVIDUAL selfish players ever. You’ve set the NBA record for missed shots. To give you an idea how fans outside the LA Calif area thinks of you… a few years ago you did a movie about…YOU. It was advertised for days. Then like your career..POOF up in smoke, the movie never came out. You’ll always been known as the “Black Worm That the NBA Superstars Hated”

      • Lwatt says:

        Speak for yourself. I’m from Miami FL HEAD NATION and outside of Air Jordan no one meant more and did more for their team like Kobe. Respect loyalty. Not a lot of players knows when it’s time to take over and be the reason your team won a hard victory, that’s what great players do and it might read selfish in your press but for me that’s 5 rings with ‘one team’.

  13. chris dixon says:

    if u think for one minute that kobe wont be on a championship squad after this year then yall are nutz!!! with the free agent signings, young fresh talent and the legacy that the lakers organization history have, i predict most of them players getting traded. the lakers needed quality names to deal for superstar players and with the right mix… the lakers have a than enough to get back to the finals if not win it all. Free agency is gonna be crazy the next 2 years. I doubt kobe hang up the towel becuause of a few bumps and falls he experience for the 1st time in his career.

  14. vincent says:

    never played for money?? your final year is what, around 24,25 mil? i dun remember.

    • desert11eagle says:

      he was due 33 million under the CBA. he took a solid pay cut on this contract.

      • watson says:

        No he didn’t. the Lakers offered him that contract he didn’t request it.
        If I offer you $100,000.00 you going to say no thank you just give a $10.00.
        PLEASE
        I’m not a Huge Kobe Fan but I do understand when you get offered a raise at work you don’t say no thank you.
        Weather then can afford you or not is not your call.

  15. tony criss says:

    Kobe Bryant don’t retire play another seasons

  16. harriethehawk says:

    I’m not Kobe or a Faker fan, but I do think he will show the same frustration this year, as he did last year, due to his same old goofy line-up. Nobody meets his caliber and I agree that he is of a dying breed in terms of his work ethic. I just hope for his teams sake, and his own, that he can maintain good health as he approaches retirement. Not too concerned about what damage the Fakers can do in the western conference. Look at that line-up.

  17. funkypiston says:

    When we talk legacy, I think one should talk about the basketball skill alone. Not the money he made, not the distractions he created. People keep saying Kobe copied all his moves from MJ. Copying is one thing but mastering the art of a legendary role model is almost impossible. Kobe/ Duncan in my mind are the greatest players post MJ era. Shaq was dominant but he barely polished any deficiencies he had when he started in the league. I think we should leave Lebron alone from this conversation since its still premature to compare his accomplishments.

  18. Kevin says:

    Talking is cheap. If money is not an issue for Bryant, why not play for the love of the game for the minimum and let the Lakers hire talent with his mammoth salary? As for Hall of Fame…. He was a good player and deserves the Hall of Fame. He could have been most likely the best if he would have changed his concept of TEAMWORK. Individual players do not attract other players. I am surprised that Hibbert joined the Lakers.

  19. Yaj says:

    Kobe is just a great player together with Jordan and Magic. Hell to lebron..

  20. KobeBgo says:

    As of current trend and talent availability of NBA world, Kobe cannot carry few players along with him to go for 6th ring…rare chance to meet with it a matter of current roaster’s performance.
    By next season, himself has to get out of Lakers join with Hawks kind of ongoing talent hunt team and achieve his ultimate goal of “6 ring”..All th very best Kobe

  21. Lakers.since.magic says:

    1997-2015 = 19 seasons = 5 lakers, 5 spurs, 3 heat, 2 bulls, 1 pistons, 1 celtics, 1 mavs, 1 warrior
    If you say kobe won because of shaq, STOP TALKING.
    We talk again if lebron won without wade, bosh, kyrie, love or any other superstar.
    Magic, Jabbar, Worthy.
    Bird, Parish, Mchale
    Jordan, Pippen
    Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc
    Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and a bunch of good role player
    If you think one guy can win it all, watch boxing. Maybe floyd is your kind of guy.

    • Ken says:

      Except shaq was finals mvp 3 times, was Pippen, ,wade or bosh mvp during Jordan/James time?

      • Chris says:

        And look who just won the Finals MVP. It doesn’t always tell the whole story.

        Shaq was the most physically dominant force in that 3-peat run. It made many look past how crazy good Kobe was and how well they complimented each other (especially the Kobe critics). Kobe wasn’t a solid supporting number 2 like the others you mentioned. He was the other dominant force. He just wasn’t the physical freak of nature that Shaq was.

    • joe says:

      100… #TRUE

  22. drago says:

    Kobe Bryant is one of the most skilled players to play the game.His level of game is unmatched in todays basketball.In todays game the only way to get a Kobe is to tape James Harden and Russel Westbrook together.

  23. Ron Zaguri says:

    Reblogged this on Ron Zaguri and commented:
    he wants his 6th thats all

  24. Joab says:

    5 rings good Job but James Jones might have 5 rings too on the coat tails of Lebron by finish. Kobe got 3 rings due to shaq and the balance due to Phil Jackson super coach. The league has now gone past him though jack up lots of shots player with big guys to bang the boards no longer cuts it.

    • Chris says:

      Right… did you actually watch that Lakers team play? I watched nearly every game that was on TV when Phil Jackson goet hired (the first time). If you did you wouldn’t be comparing James Jones to Kobe Bryant. If anything he’s more of a Robert Horry without the game winning shots. But I’m not surprised a Kobe critic would say something like that. So many people dismiss how good he was because of how dominant Shaq was.

      When Magic Johnson was drafted Kareem was still very dominant. And yet, Magic never gets the same type of criticism when it comes to his role in those Lakers championships. I feel that’s because he came before Jordan. Anyone that comes after Jordan has to deal with all of the comparisons and reasons why they aren’t as good as Jordan. Most everyone you come across who loved Jordan is a Kobe critic because they don’t like when others compare Kobe to their favorite player, as if it would diminish what Jordan accomplished or something.

      Personally, I feel lucky to have been able to witness Kareem, Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Lebron, and a few others all play in the NBA. The debates are pointless. Just appreciate watching these great players play already.

      • Chris says:

        Sorry for that spelling error. Meant to say “I watched nearly every game that was on TV when Phil Jackson got hired (the first time).”

  25. LeBron's fan says:

    I’m a die hard Bron’s fan since ’04.. But man.. Kobe is amazing, his attitude, his mentality, his dedication.. He’s amazing and it’ll be truly sad when the time for retirement comes.

  26. Hypothesis says:

    If Kobe makes it through the entire season he should stay at least another year, maybe two.

  27. chiefgeneralbryant says:

    Haters don’t understand what a leader is. Except jordan fanz pretend they know. People hate on kobe cuz jordan was before him. We all know kobe was a chief someone had to be. Just cuz he bossed up n took charge people call that selfish. Somebody got to want it n if the team ain’t doin it with him he got to go get it. Go getta! LoL! Imagine KB on the teams jordan had! Acknowledge strong will power.

  28. kobeballhog says:

    not about money hahaha. kid yourself kobe it is because of you the lakers in the dumps. ballhogging the salary cap, no superstars wanna play alongside him. you wont even budge in your overpriced salary so the lakers can get more superstars. you are not like duncan or nowitzki who sacrifices money for the team. so yeah it is all about the money.

    • aldrin says:

      Imho,

      1. ballhogging the salary cap – the lakers offered him a big amount, it is not kobe’s fault if he was offered a big sum of money. If you were on his shoes, would you not take it? after all kobe has brought to the lakers, should he settle for less?

      2. no superstars wanna play alongside him – if he did took less amount to get superstars play alongside him, then haters still gonna hate. Haters will say that kobe needs another superstar to carry him for another championship. Right?

      3. you are not like duncan or nowitzki who sacrifices money for the team – you said it yourself… he is not duncan or nowitzki. He is kobe, the 2nd best SG we’ve seen in the NBA. I understand when kobe said that it is not about the money; it is more about self preservation and keeping your self worth.

      • Tomugetsu says:

        about #2 , there you said it too … even Kobe can’t win without superstars . proof ? look at all the past few seasons of Lakers . struggling in the playoffs , let alone getting the 8th seed . and people say ” LeBron needs superstars to win ” . EVERYONE NEEDS ELITE CALIBER PLAYERS to win a championship . smh

  29. bong says:

    you will be surely a Hall of Fame awardee very soon for all you have achieved, done and contributed in the NBA..

  30. BONG says:

    kobe soon to be a Hall of Fame awardee in the NBA, for what u have done and contributed to basketball.

  31. Micole says:

    Can we please give the man respect, Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Besides you talking won’t keep him out of the hall of fame!!!!

  32. Jay says:

    Who ever says that Kobe didn’t make players around him better is stupid. pau gasol, Lamar odom, meta world peace where all players with talent but not winners. After getting to the Lakers and playing with Kobe they became champions. Kobe style of play wins championship and the 5 rings are his proof

  33. scott says:

    I have dreaded this day for 6 years, so sad to see that the real end could be here. To all you kids who think kobe is just some vet who’s injury prone.
    Please do yourselves the favor of Googling “kobes all time best plays”
    He was better the Durant, harden and curry. (Dif player then james).
    Kobe retiring is a day I hoped would never ever come.

  34. yeszin72 says:

    Wow, so many people talking negative! Let him be. He is one of the best ever played the game. Period! I am not a Lakers fan, but I love the NBA! I love basketball. I don’t know the players personally! So, don’t judge! Let’s hope he will have a hell of a year without injuries, so we can enjoy his game one more season.

  35. Rod says:

    Attention Coach Scott: Kobe must not start. Bring him off the bench playing the last 6 minutes of every quarter. This is the only way the Lakers are going to make the playoffs. Let the young team players do their job, with Kobe helping them along. I have been a Laker fan since 1961,

  36. jaclay95 says:

    Reblogged this on jaclay95 and commented:
    The time is coming…

  37. kobeallthewayto6 says:

    any one else in the current league with 5 rings? uh nope didn’t think so @#$! all the haters

  38. bye kobe says:

    I give kobe 15 games this season. Then. bingo bango acl mcl meniscus or an ankle. Too many miles on those legs. Time to hang em up.

  39. Markus says:

    Kobe and Shaq the best two man combination ever….

  40. Mark A says:

    Here is why its Kobe’s last season….. No one will pay him anywhere near what his ego thinks he should make. He will retire, no doubt

  41. love&bball says:

    Blackmamba, best in his era, number 2 scoring all time and 5 championships! Def can make a case for GOAT. I am a fan and respect his game and what he has done for the league but Lakers have not been able to attract any superstars since shaq’s departure, no team mate has had anything good to say about him last couple years, part of being great is how you can uplift rest of team making them believe and over achieve. All the greats have done it, can’t say that for Kobe! Although I don’t agree with all Objective has to say he does make a point!!

    • asdf says:

      he is nr 3 in scoring alltime.

    • #perspective says:

      Dwight howard, pau gasol, steve nash, Ron artest, I believe they were all all star and the best at what they did. Whether they worked out or got injured or left the team, or retired is irrelevent. But last I checked 2 of them helped contribute to 2 rings. Might want to rethink everything you said.

  42. Cameron says:

    The money has never been an issue?? Sooo, why did you take $25mil a year (the highest in the entire NBA), crippling the Lakers chances of putting together a contending roster? Yep, it’s always been about Basketball for you…

    Please just retire. Thanks for the memories. You got paid. We were entertained. Everyone won…But, you’re no Tim Duncan. I don’t mean that in the “talent” aspect, but in the “going out with grace” aspect. You can’t play second fiddle to anyone, and you will force your dominance to remain the top dog, greatly hindering the great, young talent on the team.

    • Daniel G says:

      Well put

      • dave says:

        Nah … I think its about doing whats fair. He’s not their slave, he got market value.

        If you owned stocks in a company, would you sell it for less than what it is was worth on the market?

  43. beware says:

    just lucky to witness the best of kobe,one of the greatest,no doubt ..good luck

  44. Objective says:

    They already popping out 🙂 🙂 🙂 Know your history before talking. Pardon my spelling i’m not native English speaking. Let’s see how far he’ll get this season. Good Luck 🙂

  45. Realistic says:

    You’re an idiot @Objective

  46. angel says:

    by the way learn how to spell

  47. Objective says:

    You can try talk “nice” all you want. No one can denied your skills and your motivation. But you are sellfish, you cannot co-exist with someone better than you And to me that means you haven’t reach all that you could. Look it up: Together Everyone Achieve More. That’s the meaning of TEAM. This year everyone will laugh while humiliate you and guess what: you deserve every bit of it. Throwing your teammates under the bus, asking for a trade but demanding that no one steal your spotlight. Even bringing a whole organisation down. But guess what we see how many superstars don’t even want to play with you. And offcourse they will talk nice about you but nobody believe that. So go ahead take 100 shots a game and try to break the scoring record, we are not stupid except 90% of the Kobe lovers. You will recognize them right below my comment 🙂 LOVE THE REAL GAME 🙂

    • Spacey says:

      Wow this guy above me with the long post is stupid.

    • angel says:

      people talk out of their rear kobe is the best to do it in his era and never wanted a trade. when you are the best ,you earn the respect of others not humiliation.

    • Max starr says:

      and statistics speak for themselves Bryant five titles on lock best player since Jordan who else killing the league since day one I’ll wait. Nobody #blackmamba

    • dxfactor says:

      Go Kobe Bryant. The greatest of all time. You deserve everything you achieved in your career. Hard work and perseverance, unbelievable focus and sheer determination. There will be very few like you (if any) after you retire. You are the last of a dying breed of Basketball player. I wish you all the best “Black Mamba”. It has been great watching you since I was a teenager.

    • KD35MVP says:

      You are so stupid man you dont know anything about Kobe Bryant

    • NBA fanatic says:

      I agree with you. But Kobe did have skill. And could have been the best to ever play aside from his ego. And he certainly was not killing it since day one. He came off the bench most of his rookie season despite his promise. They already had Eddie Jones starting. And he did want out. There was a documented conversation with Mike Dunleavy Sr. about playing for the Clippers during one of there games. Had he been a better team player the Lakers could have kept Shaq, Payton, and Malone for another season to try for a ring. That team collapsed because they didn’t get along quite possibly because of Kobe distractions involving his rape case. I still say he hasaid been a great talent in the league but his ego kept him from being better.