Kobe Bryant Says Next Season Will Be His Last

“Kobe Bryant” and “retirement” are two words I hate to see in the same sentence.

But, sadly, the 36-year-old is much closer to the end of his career than he his to the beginning – obviously – which means that retirement is just around the corner for the Black Mamba.

And yes, that sucks. But it’s the truth.

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Bryant apparently said that next season would be his last:

The L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has been contemplating life after basketball since he was 22. Now that he’s 36, out due to injury and close to retirement, he says he’ll play one more season and finish his two-year contract, which will net him $25 million.

Bryant currently has one year left on his contract, though it’s way too early to know whether he will hang ’em up for good next year.

If Bryant comes back from his season-ending shoulder injury and performs well, the five-time NBA champion may find it hard to call it quits, especially if the Lakers suddenly have a competitive roster.

Also, it’s worth remembering that Bryant said he would likely retire in 2014 when his last contract expired. Obviously, that didn’t happen and Kobe ended up signing a two-year extension several months before his deal was due to expire, so he didn’t even end up hitting free agency.

So, while Bryant may be saying this right now, fans of the Black Mamba probably shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet.

However, if you want to watch Kobe Bryant live one last time (or even for the first time) next season may just be your last chance to do it, so make sure you keep that in mind…

Written by Ross Pickering

Ross Pickering is the founder of Lakerholicz.com. He's here to bring you daily updates on your Los Angeles Lakers, despite living 5,485 miles away from L.A. in England. You can follow him on Twitter: @RossPickering