Kobe Bryant to Retire in 2 Years When Lakers Contract Expires?

| by Alex Groberman

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is still unquestionably at the top of his game.

While he may no longer be the best player in the NBA anymore, he remains one of The Association’s fiercest, smartest and most unique competitors even now at the advanced age of 33. And mind you, Bryant’s 33 isn’t the same 33 that everyone else knows as 33.

Bryant is a 33-year-old who has played professional basketball since age 18. His body has taken 16 years of NBA pounding. He’s played over 42,000 regular season minutes and over 8,600 playoff minutes. If you add up all of his postseason games, you fall 26 games short of tacking on an additional three seasons of play.

Naturally, when you’ve played for as long as L.A.’s biggest star has, you can’t help but think about the end. In a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports (transcribed by Fox Sports), Bryant opened up about how he envisions his career wrapping up.

“I’ve been playing for 17 years now — next year will be my 17th, and when I’m (age) 35 it will be my 18th (year) in the league,” Bryant, who turns 34 in August, said during a video interview with Graham Bensinger of Yahoo! Sports. “That’s a long time to be playing. You know, it will be the last year of my contract and I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll be playing any longer than that.”

Realizing the magnitude of what he said, No. 24 quickly clarified his statement.

“It’s just a possibility. It’s not something that I’ve given much thought to, but it’s a possibility. It could happen.”

There’s one thing Bryant is sure about.

“I would love for people to look back on my career and say that I maximized everything that I possibly could, every ounce of talent that I had, that I got the most out of it,” he said in the interview with Yahoo Sports! “If people can say that about me, then I’ll be very happy.”

Get more Lakers news and rumors on Twitter: @agroberman

(Kudos Yahoo! Sports, Fox Sports)

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