Sports

Kobe laughs off retirement talks – for now

Did anyone really buy any of the talk that Kobe Bryant’s season-ending Achilles tear was going to end up being career-ending?

Surely nobody who has ever known anything about Kobe Bryant and his freakish drive to win did.

The seriousness of the injury, combined with Bryant’s cryptic hints that he may walk into the sunset when his current contract is up (it expires after next season), led some to wonder if the basketball world had indeed seen the last of one of its all-time greats.

Not so fast says Bryant, who put all questions of his immediate retirement plans to bed with a tweet reading in part “Really??? Me. Retire?? Soon, but not yet Vino still has work to do.”

Guess Kobe prefers “Vino” to “Black Mamba” now for his nickname.

How much longer Kobe will play will largely depend on the recovery of his surgically repaired Achilles tendon and the quality of the Lakers going forward.

He has the all-time NBA scoring record in his sights but would need a few more seasons to do it. Bryant is also 6,770 points behind the all-time record holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a mark that would likely require over three more fully healthy seasons from Mr. Vino.

Perhaps more intriguingly, he sits only 675 points behind Michael Jordan for third place on the scoring list. Plus, former Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson just gave the Kobe vs. MJ nod to Jordan in his recent book, so there’s certainly going to be some fuel for Kobe’s seemingly endless fire.

Love him or hate him, it’s nice to see one of the NBA’s greatest players go out on his own terms rather than succumbing to an unfortunate injury.

Follow Stuart on Twitter