The Recipe For Kobe Bryant Playing For 3-4 More Seasons Reviewed by Momizat on . While fans, writers, and pundits disagreed on the topic of how many more seasons Kobe Bryant would ultimately play, the resounding answer from Kobe himself was While fans, writers, and pundits disagreed on the topic of how many more seasons Kobe Bryant would ultimately play, the resounding answer from Kobe himself was Rating:
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The Recipe For Kobe Bryant Playing For 3-4 More Seasons

kobe and tdWhile fans, writers, and pundits disagreed on the topic of how many more seasons Kobe Bryant would ultimately play, the resounding answer from Kobe himself was that he didn’t have much left in the tank, and that it would be realistic for him to retire after his current contract (which ends at the end of the 2013-2014 season). However, he left room for change, as he suggested he could play beyond that.

Personally, I thought that if the 2014 season ended well (with a championship or close to one), he would re-sign for one last season–which would be his 19th–and go after another championship. He often noted not only the physical commitment, but the mental commitment as one reason why he didn’t believe he could keep up the intensity in his training and preparation for much longer.

However, after tearing his Achilles tendon at the end of the 2012-2013 season, I felt that as long as he was able to recover well enough to maintain an elite level of play that he’d for sure play one season beyond his current contract, at the very least; simply because he’d want a full season reinforced by an off-season dedicated to strength and conditioning as opposed to rehab.

Then, in April, Bryant indicated to ESPN Los Angeles’ Arash Markazi that he could play quite a few more seasons:

That was quite surprising to hear from Kobe, even though he stated he’s not saying it will happen.

But then, on a recent trip to Brazil, Kobe yet again hinted at something similar, this time with a different distinction, in an interview with Brazil TV:

“I can easily see myself playing another three or four years.”

This was what many Lakers fans had dreamed of; the Black Mamba playing out another few years and giving himself the chance at more championships.

Additionally, several indications point towards the belief that Kobe doesn’t just want ring number six, but rather ring number seven as well.

I believe the Achilles injury has actually fueled Bryant to set these extremely high goals, which is a testament of his greatness.

Rather than resign to the fact that he may never be the same player he was, he’s kept that possibility in the back of his mind and seemingly used it as fuel for what he plans to do in the future.

In fact, as Kobe sat down with Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters, he explained how the injury has “rejuvenated” him by putting in perspective just how precious being able to play is. Basically, his reasoning is that his career very well could’ve been over with that injury, so if he can prolong his career and play as long as possible, why not do it?

While I disagreed with Charles Barkley’s assessment that Bryant would be just “a good player. That’s it,” and argued that the type of will and determination in Kobe’s DNA coupled with the elite skill-set he possesses would enable him to maintain his elite status for the remainder of his career, the Black Mamba actually tasked himself with an even bigger challenge–conquer the Achilles injury, play three more seasons, and win two more championships.

Will he get two more rings? That’s yet to be seen, and will be extremely difficult.

Will he play three more seasons, or even one more season beyond his contract? That, on it’s own, is a huge challenge at 36 or 37 years of age and season number 19 or 20, respectively. If he were to play four more, he’d be 38 years old and on season number 21!

Will he even be able to come back strong enough from his Achilles injury to guard quicker, younger players and be a dominant force offensively? That, to date, it the biggest challenge facing Kobe Bryant.

However, although Bryant is by no means overlooking his injury and the grueling rehab process that comes with it, he’s done what few dare to do; which is add even more challenges for himself and ask of himself more than any fan, coach, or even critic could possibly think of.

If he retired today, he’d arguably go down as the greatest Laker of all time and easily one of the Top 5 players of all time.

But that’s not Kobe. He refuses to take the “easy” route, even though what’s easy for him is impossible for most.

So, whether or not it happens, one thing we can all be sure of is that in his mind, Kobe is up to the challenge of attempting to play at least three more seasons after conquering his Achilles injury and hopefully preventing any other serious ones.

Will it happen? Who knows, but here are a few keys to giving him the best chance at doing it.

Next Page: The Recipe For Four More

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About The Author

Suki is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and an unsigned contributing writer for Lakers Nation. Follow Suki on Twitter @TheRealSuki and Facebook. You can check out the rest of his work here.

Number of Entries : 181
  • Josh

    A torn achilles injury is very tricky. Most, if not all, who have had it never comes back the same way. They are still elite athletes mind you, but most have not reached the same level of performance that they had prior to the injury. With all the mileage in Kobe and now this freak injury, I’m worried he’s trying to come back a little too soon. I admire his competitive drive, but at some point, one’s will and competitiveness might be writing checks his physical body can’t cash.

  • Jim213

    Aside from staying healthy… team depth, chemistry, and the challenge and joy of playing the game may likely determine whether Kobe decides to go another 3 to 4 yrs. Although, if he can get another ring 6th then he would likely retire before the possible 3 to 4 yrs.

  • richard

    Excellent piece Suki! I enjoyed reading up to the last dot. I never understand why people would say Kobe couldn’t co-exist with Shaq. The personal relationship may not be ideal, but the professional side of it produced 3 rings. And Shaq have nothing but praise for kobe after he retired. this is a misconception that mainstream media have been saying about Kobe and a lot of people actually believe it. Chemistry is the greatest variable in any team sports for it to win anything.

    • Suki Thind

      Thanks, I really appreciate that!!! Yeah, I love how Shaq sticks up for Kobe these days, and Dwight’s departure/attitude really makes us all appreciate him so much more! I never bought into the fact that Kobe and Dwight didn’t get along, but a lot of it was Dwight’s mentality. Look at Steve Nash and Kobe’s relationship…they work out great together and it was often Nash and Dwight who had problems. So it kind of tells you who the real “problem” was. As for Kobe playing with another superstar, I think his motivating factor is another ring. At the same time, he has his ego as well. If it’s a player who he feels is trying to infringe on his status, I don’t think he’d bow down. However, if it’s someone he really likes and takes pride in teaching/mentoring, I see no problem with him letting someone else get 30-40 on one night while he sits back and drops dimes. He really takes pride in being a “big brother” to Melo, so in that sense, I really can see it working out. Melo looks up to him, and is just trying to get a ring, so I think Kobe wouldn’t mind teaching him some things, taking credit for Melo advancing his game even more, and ultimately getting his 6th ring while letting Melo get his first. It’s all about the ring count at the end of the day for #24!

  • jiego

    He will never stop until he got the no.1 spot points made. He is now at no.4, number 3 next season until he reach the top. He can’t get the ring alone with his age.He needs help from some elite players.

  • Jarrod

    Kobe has always been an astute historian of the NBA, and he knows his potential place in NBA history well. Everyone talks about the 6th ring to tie Jordan. But when Kobe said 4 more years, I think many overlooked the significance of 4 years. At 1700 pts a year for 4 years, Kobe would eclipse Kareem’s all-time scoring mark in his final year (he has averaged 2000 a year for his career thus far). With 300 more Playoff points (or about 12 games), he will eclipse Jordan’s all-time playoff scoring mark. With 1 more ring he ties Jordan’s rings. Altogether this is ALL possible within that 4 year timespan for Kobe to effectively capture or tie every important accolade necessary to qualify him as the Greatest NBA player.

  • Snowbird

    I appreciate the will and determination contained within Kobe, and if it were simply about mental strength…I’d say this would be no problem. However, when your achilles is shot to hell, and that same achilles happens to be the left one that you normally explode off of…your ability to go to the basket is going to be significantly hampered outside of well executed fakes and perfect footwork. So now you are left with a Bryant that is going to essentially “fade away jumper” himself into significant stats. The problem is, that fadeaway is going to have less lift than before (especially at the end of games), and Kobe’s mental makeup (along with the fact that Nick Young is now in the equation) is going to ultimately result in him “going down swinging”. He doesn’t care how his teammates or coach will look as a result of it as long as he gets what he considers to be respectable number for a 35 year old with a bum achilles. If Kobe was GM and had to make a similar decision about amnestying a player that had amassed the same successes yet went down with one of (if not the absolute) worst injury possible, I guarantee he would amnesty that guy in a second and justify in the most soulless of ways. As Kobe gets older, he realizes that his game is no longer able to much of the talking, and as a result, his mouth and attitude will take on an even bigger role. Expect more bullying and more harsh criticism directed toward his teammates as he uses politics rather than basketball to justify his position in the hierarchy of Lakerland.

  • ra

    At first, it seemed as though he said he would ‘play for a few, maybe 4, more years’. He didn’t say he would play in the NBA for 4 more years. Was that implied? Or, as he mentioned in the past that he could play in Italy (Euro League), he could easily play a couple years here, and a couple in Italy.

    But, that was before the injury. I’m sure he will give it his all to play in the NBA, and get to at least some of his goals.

    I’m not concerned about whether he will play at the same level. I think he could. I’m concerned about whether playing could cause a re-injury. Does anyone know the mechanics of the injury? If it’s repaired, does it make the Achilles heel ‘better than new’? The same? Just a little less than new? Or what?

    I’m sure he’s considering all these things. But you know, I saw the injury when it happened. He didn’t look like he did anything particularly strenuous. Did anyone else see it? It just ‘gave out’ – POP. He didn’t make a high jumping dunk, or even that ambitious a shot. I’m not even sure he made a shot at all – it just looked like he was walking, and then POP.

    If it happened again …. that would be it. Let’s hope that the repair process produces something ‘better than new’. Check w/ Chauncey Billups, and Elton Brand, who both ruptured the Achilles. How did they do?

    • Jim213

      From reading about Kobe’s injury, between 70 to 90% of athletes have a successful comeback after an Achilles tendon injury (with surgery). The frequency of re-injury and re-surgery increases given the patient’s age and sport. However, only 20% of those injured athletes require re-operation given an Achilles overuse.

      Pretty sure Kobe will be fine (no MD) but the team requires more depth now than before to help Kobe while lowering his playing time to 40 minutes or so… come back when 90% healthy Kobe. I also read that worn out shoes and weak or tight calf muscles can likely contribute to Achilles injuries, better call up Nike to have a special shoe made that will place more cushion on his rehabbed Achilles.

      Currently, the team has too many guards which doesn’t help Kobe, they need more authoritative and skillful players inside. Otherwise, Kobe will be Kobe an play all out for the win given his competitiveness. NEED MORE DEPTH INSIDE NOT 6 OR 7 GUARDS…

  • knezpedja

    He should go from Jordan mode to Magic mode… and there is 3-4 (years) more.

    • Jim213

      Agreed, but Kobe will be Kobe (competitor), it’s very likely that he may re-aggravate his injury given the lack of team depth and help inside the paint. However, things are starting to look up with some of the latest acquisitions.

      Kobe also play’s his best when he distributes more and scores less than 30 point a game if I’m correct. Thus, we’ll require solid team depth aside from youth.

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