Bryant set to break more All-Star records.
After leading the votes in the NBA All-Star Balloting last month to seal a 15th consecutive All-Star nod, Kobe Bryant is set to provide another reminder as to why NBA fans should appreciate before he calls time on a glittering career.
A four-time NBA All-Star MVP (2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011), Bryant was also the youngest ever player to make an All-Star appearance at the age of just 19 back in 1998.
The honours continue to roll on as he became the game’s all-time scoring leader, surpassing Michael Jordan, in last year’s meeting in Orlando.
Having won gold in London last summer at the Olympics, Bryant called time on his international career stating that it was time to pave the way for the next generation to take over the reigns.
As he continues his pursuit of a sixth championship ring with the Lakers, something that looks far from realistic this season, Bryant has regularly dropped hints over his retirement from the game.
At 34, and a 17-year association veteran, after the conclusion of this season Bryant still has a year remaining on his current deal with the Lakers but with few signs of his ability diminishing.
Yet good things can’t last forever, something that the ‘Black Mamba’ has always accepted.
“I find myself talking sometimes and I can’t believe what I just said. Realistically I have only one year left, so I’m trying to enjoy myself,” Bryant recently told the Los Angeles Times.
Combine that with previous interviews he has given, and it is fairly certain he’s ready to call it quits sooner rather later.
“You didn’t have to see that version of Michael [Jordan],” when speaking about Jordan’s time at the Washington Wizards. “He retired at 36 in Chicago at the top of his game. There’s not a chance you’ll see me [like that].”
One thing for sure is that Bryant’s competitive personality will not allow him to stick around with the Lakers just to achieve further personal landmarks. He has often stated that if he no longer has the hunger to prepare at a high level and to seriously contribute, he’ll know when the time is right to exit the game.
So as the months tick down and the general consensus is that Kobe may well say goodbye next year, it’s weekends like All-Star weekend that give us an opportunity to sit back and enjoy watching the mamba in action.