NBA News: Kobe Bryant Retires After this Season? [Rumors]
With the Los Angeles Lakers underwhelming performance in the current NBA season, it is no wonder fans are hoping for fresh blood to join the team in the trade season. But with the possibility of new players coming in comes the probability that some would also go out, including Kobe Bryant, who may just retire as soon as the season is over.
The 36-year-old player has been plagued with numerous issues and injuries this season and many have wondered if it is finally time he gives up his jersey. According to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, the same thought has entered Bryant.
"I'd be lying if I said that it hasn't crossed my mind," the shooting guard said. He added, "Right now I doubt it... but anything's possible."
The 6'6''-tall player has been battling an injured Achilles' tendon and it has affected his performance.
"My body is hurting like crazy, around the clock, and if I don't want to do this anymore, I won't do it," he stressed.
Bryant's current average is 22.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds in less than 35 minutes of gameplay given him, reported SB Nation. The statistics are a far cry from his 35.4 points per game, which was scored during the Philadelphia-native's prime.
The numbers have raised the question on just how far could Bryant still bring his game. Known for his "never-say-never" attitude when it comes to shooting hoops, many are wondering why he's allowing himself to be benched for a long time.
"I know everyone is surprised I'm not fighting all this. But I've changed," the basketball star said.
He added, "It's important for free agents to see how I can adjust my game, because that's always the question mark, right? Are they going to get the old grumpy guy who is going to want to shoot the ball all the time? No, they're not."
Bryant emphasized that "it's important for free agents to see that my determination comes from self-assessing, from saying, 'OK, I'll do this.'"
For the meantime, he is determined to finish what he has started. "I'm still enjoying it, but it's hard. You have to find new challenges, not playing for a championship, it's pretty tough," he noted.
Meanwhile, Lakers coach Byron Scott has come to Bryant's defense and called his retirement thoughts a result of frustration, said Master Herald. According to him, he and the NBA star have not yet sat down to discuss the rumors.
However, Scott mentioned that until the Black Mamba has come to the decision to retire, they would remain focused on the season. When the player approaches him to inform he's done, that's when "they would start thinking about it as a team."