How Much Longer Can Kobe Bryant Carry the Los Angeles Lakers’ Torch?

Kobe Bryant’s 17 years of NBA wear and his Achilles injury make it fair to wonder how long he can continue to lead the Los Angeles Lakers.

As shown in the video below, the 35-year-old Bryant has made it known that he plans to play for another three or four years:

He has set an incredible standard throughout his career, but his decline seems imminent.

The Lakers hope to acquire another superstar during the 2014 offseason, which will allow the franchise’s all-time leading scorer to lessen his workload. That would allow him to gracefully retire, perhaps as the greatest Laker ever.

Many have speculated that the player L.A. covets is LeBron James. As a member of the organization, the two-time champion would become the new face of the Lakers and steer the team once again toward championship contention with Bryant riding shotgun.

This tentative plan has Bryant carrying the torch for one last season and then turning over the reins to James. Mind you, this dream scenario will likely never come to fruition.

James has to opt out of his current contract with the Miami Heat and then leave a team with which he has already celebrated two consecutive titles. Furthermore, Miami has the potential to capture more championship glory with its best player entering his prime.

That leaves the Lakers with a few contingency plans, but none bring back a superstar. Consequently, that leaves Bryant carrying the franchise on his back until he calls it quits. That’s a scary proposition given the amount of weight he has already carried on his shoulders throughout his career. 

Doubting Bryant is typically an exercise reserved for fools, but this one time I will be forced to throw my name into that hat.

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