Since retiring at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has taken a step back in the basketball world to focus on his many new business ventures. That was evident in November, when he toured the country promoting his signature sports drink, Body Armor.
While there was previous speculation that Bryant would eventually accept a role in the Lakers front office, particularly once his former agent, Rob Pelinka, was hired as general manager, the five-time NBA champion has remained opposed to the idea.
Bryant has additionally cherished his time off the court, getting to spend quality time with his family, and much prefers simply being a phone call away in an unofficial capacity for the team.
Along with not joining the Lakers front office, Bryant has also been absent from games. In an interview on “Connected With…” he explained that decision and said he would consider attending games in the future, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Maybe (attend games). I don’t want to distract from what’s going on. They need to develop. This is a new era. They need to be able to have their time, they need to go out there and play and perform, get better, and do it away from me. They’ve got to be able to do their own thing. This is their moment, let them have it.”
Though Bryant has physically kept a distance from the Lakers, he has kept in touch with some of the players — particularly the young core. Last month, he shared valuable advice with Kyle Kuzma over dinner and raved about his play, claiming the rookie possesses the “best trait.”
Second-year forward Brandon Ingram has also credited Bryant for his substantial growth this season, citing a pair of phone calls with the 18-time All-Star last year that helped turn his season around.
On Dec. 18, Bryant will get a chance to see the new-look Lakers in action when the team retires his Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys during a halftime ceremony at Staples Center.
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