Back in September, Phil Jackson, the man who coached Kobe Bryant to five championships, made headlines when he said that he believed that Kobe would be playing somewhere that wasn’t Los Angeles next season.
Kobe shot those rumors down, but after the Lakers’ terrible 1-4 start, the rumblings began once again that we could potentially see the two-time Finals MVP in a different uniform.
But when asked point blank about his future on Friday night following his team’s first victory of the season, Kobe once again reiterated that he would not be playing outside of Los Angeles – no matter what.
We all know how important winning is to Kobe, and he would obviously like nothing more than to get that sixth ring before he retires. But that is not happening with the Lakers. Los Angeles has some good young pieces in D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, but by the time they’re really ready to be a winning core, Kobe will be pushing 40.
Would Kobe change his mind about his future and join a contender if the Lakers are, say, the worst team in the West at season’s end? Would he actually retire after a terrible season like that? Or would he be open to coming back in 2016-17 with the Lakers only to go through another year of losing basketball?
Only Kobe really knows the answer, but at this point the only thing we can do is take him at his word that he will stay a Laker until he hangs it up.