L.A. Lakers: Why Kobe Bryant’s Career Won’t End Like Michael Jordan’s

Michael Jordan stayed around the NBA basketball courts just a little too long.  Don't expect Kobe Bryant to do the same.

MJ and Kobe will always be linked and compared, whether they like it or not.  And while Bryant continues to chase Jordan's six championship rings (he has five), I can't see number 24 lingering around for years once his skills diminish and his days with the Lakers are over.

For those of you who don't remember, Michael Jordan left the game of basketball three times in his brilliant, Hall of Fame career.

The first time was in 1993 to pursue a baseball career which ended before it ever really got started, the second was in 1999 after leading the Chicago Bulls to his sixth title and finally in 2003 after two mediocre years with the hapless Washington Wizards.

Jordan should have stayed away from the game after that second retirement. 

But he ended up retired this time for just three years, deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent at the age of 38. 

Like a lot of superstar athletes or faded movie stars, he had trouble adjusting to life out of the spotlight and felt he still had something left in the tank.  Asked in September 2001 by People magazine why he wanted to return to the game, Jordan told reporter Stephen M. Silverman, "For the love of the game."

Jordan did in fact still have some of the skills that catapulted him from being the third pick in the 1984 draft out of North Carolina to becoming one of the greatest to ever play the game.  He played two years for Washington, averaging a decent 22 and 20 points in 35 and 37 minutes per game respectively.

Yet there are some who argue that Jordan should have retired for good when he was on top, right after winning title number six with Phil Jackson's Bulls. 

For Kobe Bryant, he has two years remaining on his Lakers contract and is motivated to do whatever he...

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