Kobe Bryant was only able to play in six games this season before the Los Angeles Lakers officially announced he wouldn’t return for any of the 18 games remaining on their schedule at the time of the news.
However, prior to stepping foot on the court during the 2013-2014 season, Bryant and the Lakers agreed to terms on a two-year, $48.5 million contract that likely will result in the 18-year veteran finishing his NBA career having only suited up for the Lakers.
While Bryant has yet to announce whether or not he would retire when his latest contract expires, Jeanie Buss touched on the intentions for Bryant’s last season, whenever that may be, during an interview with Bill Macdonald on Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet.
According to ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin, Buss was emotional when recounting the franchise’s failure to honor Magic Johnson, which she said won’t be the case with Bryant:
Jeanie Buss teared up on @TWCSportsNet lamenting that the team didn’t get to give Magic Johnson a farewell tour. They will do so w/ Kobe
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 19, 2014
Though their on-court demeanor may be different, the parallels between Bryant and Johnson are present. Each has only played for the Lakers, won five championships and endeared themselves to Los Angeles and Lakers fans throughout the world. The admiration and respect between Bryant and Johnson is prevalent with Johnson going so far as to call Bryant the greatest player to wear a Lakers uniform.
Bryant sits near or at the top of several franchise records and has been fixated on winning an elusive sixth championship ring. The five-time champion recently directed poignant remarks towards the front office, which Buss attributed to his competitive nature.
The relationship between Bryant and the Lakers has had its many peaks and some valleys. With two-more years together nearly guaranteed, they’ll need each other to bring another NBA title back to Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant On Change THIS Summer, Jim and Jeanie Buss, Coaching Staff