Lakers Nation Debate: Will The 2015-16 Season Be Kobe Bryant’s Last?

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Topic: We wonder if fans believe that Kobe Bryant will retire after the 2015-16 season?

Context: The 2015-16 season will be Kobe Bryant’s 20th season in the NBA, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. There is no doubt that Kobe will go down as one of the greatest Lakers of all-time, as well as arguably one of the 10 greatest NBA players period, but there are questions as to whether his 20th season will be in his last.

Kobe has developed the reputation as being one of the most competitive players in NBA history. The most common comparison between him and Michael Jordan has to do with their competitive spirit. Jordan returned to the NBA twice after retiring, and many picture Kobe doing the same thing.

There is also the notion of Kobe succumbing to season-ending injury in each of the last three seasons. A torn Achilles, fractured kneecap, and torn labrum has ended each of the last three seasons for Kobe and it is difficult to picture him finishing his career due to injury as opposed to going out on his own terms.

The 2015-16 season is the final year of the two-year extension that Kobe signed and general manager Mitch Kupchak has said that there have been no discussions about Kobe playing beyond next season. Furthermore, Kupchak mentioned that Kobe indicated that this season would be his last. Despite these reports, however, many are unsure as to whether Kobe would really end his illustrious career after next year.

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Verdict: We went to Twitter to ask the loyal Lakers Nation followers if they believe Kobe Bryant will retire after the 2015-16 season. These are some of the responses:

The fans have spoken and it was not even close. The vast majority of Lakers Nation followers believe that next season will not be the final season for Kobe Bryant, though many believe that it is dependent on the state of the Lakers after next summer.

In this case, however, I have to disagree with the fans. I understand that Kobe is extremely competitive and it is hard to see him walking away from the game. In this case, however, Kobe has already begun finding different things to focus on off the basketball court. Kobe has a lot of different interests in the business world and that will be the difference between him and Michael Jordan in my opinion.

There is some thought that Kobe wants to at least match Jordan’s six championships. That may be true, but it’s the day-to-day grind that is most difficult for players in Kobe’s position and ultimately I feel that he really does want to move on to different things in his life. It is tough to accept, but I believe this upcoming season will be Kobe’s last.

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