Kobe Bryant Hints at Early Retirement, Talks Dwight Howard’s Future with Lakers

As Kobe Bryant continues his pursuit for a sixth championship ring, he hasn't hesitated to discuss his future in the NBA nor sidestepped the inquiries regarding Dwight Howard's future with the Los Angeles Lakers.


Kobe continues to confuse the hell out of us.

Though the Black Mamba is no stranger to discussing retirement, the timetable for such a (dreaded) occurrence is something he has failed to concretely divulge. 

Bryant not-so-subtly delved into the topic once again in a candid interview with the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers:

"I find myself talking sometimes and I can't believe what I just said," he says with a hearty laugh. "Realistically I have only one year left, so I'm trying to enjoy myself."

One year. That pinpoints Bryant's retirement after next season, when he'll be 35 going on 36. For those keeping count, that's roughly four years shy of 40, the age at which the Mamba once stated he would play until.

Assuming—which is hard to do—this isn't another one of Bryant's maniacal ploys, it only increases the urgency behind his current quest. If he's serious, he has but one more season to win that sixth title and further cement his already illustrious history.

But is it a misunderstood history as well?

Bryant is widely (universally?) considered selfish. In certain circles, they wouldn't hesitate to argue that he's a team cancer, that he's someone who championships have been won in spite of, not directly because of.

Clad with a selfless transformation, such narratives have been forced to change (sort of) in the wake of an even more enigmatic Kobe:

"We're human beings, so we're complicated," Kobe says.

We have already spent the last hour discussing his obsessive intensity, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Shaquille O'Neal, his stifling inner circle and his belief he can pass ...

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