The Immortal Appeal of Kobe Bryant

Just one month into Kobe Bryant's 19th campaign, his season has already been more eventful than some men's careers. Redirecting some of the focus from his Los Angeles Lakers' unsurprisingly rough start, the 36-year-old has already set the all-time record for missed field-goal attempts—all while he closes in on Michael Jordan to become the league's third-most prolific scorer in history.

Some have even suggested the seemingly unthinkable possibility of a trade (not that there's anything to those suggestions).

"It's not going to happen," Bryant told USA Today's Sam Amick earlier this month. "You go through the good times, you've got to go through the bad times.

"It's not going to happen. I have a no-trade clause. [Lakers governor] Jeanie [Buss] and [Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations] Jimmie [Buss] aren't sending me anywhere."

There are plenty of sentimental reasons for that (to be sure). But there are also some very practical ones.

"I don't see them trading Kobe, not at all," one rival NBA team president told New York scribe Mitch Lawrence in a piece for Forbes earlier this month. "The Lakers almost have to keep him, as much for business reasons as anything else, and I believe that's what they're going to do."

The original trade scenario imagined Bryant returning to the side of former coach Phil Jackson, who is now president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks. Regardless of such a move's merits on paper, it's the economics that matter here.

"Kobe brings eyes to the TV," Lawrence's source added. "No, he's not the same player he once was, but people are always going to watch Kobe Bryant."

Conversely, people don't watch the Lakers without Bryant. Television viewership plummeted with him sidelined last season, the first in which Lakers fans—and the league at large—experienced prolonged life without Kobe sin...

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