It is almost certain that this is Kobe Bryant’s final season in the National Basketball Association.
But should he change his mind and stay, the “Black Mamba” said he won’t be going anywhere else.
Already in his 20th NBA season and with the only team he’s played for in his professional career, Bryant insisted he is a “Laker for life” Friday after his team notched its first win of the season against the Brooklyn Nets and again denied he is even contemplating of playing elsewhere should he decide to stay longer.
Bryant’s contract expires in June 2016 and the 37-year-old has not revealed his future plans.
His former coach and now New York Knicks president Phil Jackson last September have opined that he did not believe this would be Bryant’s final year, but might be his last one in Los Angeles.
But Bryant was quick to shake this off.
”I’m a Laker for life. I’m not playing anywhere else no matter what. It’s just not going to happen. I bleed purple and gold and that’s just how it’s going to be,” Bryant told reporters.
Set to earn $25-million this season, Bryant is only shooting 31% overall and 21% from the three-point arc.
Bryant said that if he were to make a decision right now, he is to call it quits.
Still, the former Most Valuable Player remains noncommittal about the future, and insisted he will make his decision at the end of the season.
A 17-time All Star, Bryant has been plagued by injuries and other aches and pains through the years – and more so the past couple of seasons. His recovery in between games is now an “all day” process – ice, stretches, massages, and others.
But the five-time champion stressed his okay with continuing this routine for years beyond this one.
“Yeah I could,” he quipped. “If I wanted to keep playing, I could figure it out. Absolutely.”