Kobe Bryant’s two-year contract that he signed last season has been the topic of much discussion. Many said that the contract was too expensive for an aging superstar who hadn’t returned from a devastating injury yet.
Kobe’s contract runs out after the 2016 season which would be his 20th. While it would seem likely that Kobe would retire after that year, Jeanie Buss revealed in an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick that she hopes Bryant continues playing after that year:
I hope not,” Buss said with a laugh when asked if she thought Bryant would retire then. “I really hope not. I mean I’m a person who watched Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) play until he was 42 (years old) […] I know you can’t beat Father Time, but there are those athletes who can transcend the average age of retirement. And if anyone can do that, my money is on the Black Mamba.”
Bryant has made a career out of defying the odds. Expecting some sort of dropoff from Bryant is understandable given his age and injury history, but Bryant has done everything possible to hold off the inevitable decline.
He has shown flashes of his old self during the preseason, making a number of classic fadeaway jumpers and having no issues running up and down the court for over 30 minutes a night.
Bryant has said himself that he won’t be the same player he used to be, but his ability to get buckets is something that will remain even in his old age. Buss probably won’t sign him for almost $50 million again, but his skill, knowledge and star power makes keeping him around a possibility for the franchise.
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