Kobe Bryant: Lakers Star Speaks out About Retirement Plans

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 15, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has two seasons left on his contract. The end of that may also signal the end of his career. 

The future Hall of Famer, who talked about his potential retirement in an interview with Graham Bensinger and Yahoo! Sports, said that it was "still probably accurate" that he would no longer be playing in the NBA by the time he was 35. 

That may sound a bit early for retirement, but remember, Bryant came into the league at the tender age of 18.

He may "only" be 33, but Kobe has 16 NBA seasons under his belt. He's been playing in the NBA for almost half his life and he's amassed over 42,000 minutes in his career. That's a lot of miles.

So while the prospect of an NBA without Kobe Bryant may seem odd, it might not be as far away as you think. 

"That's a long time to be playing," said Bryant in the interview. "It will be the last year of my contract, so I don't know. I don't know if I'll play any longer than that."

Of course, Kobe goes on to simply call retirement a "possibility," so this has to be taken with a grain of salt. 

If retirement does indeed come to fruition for Bryant, who mentions he wants to be sure he's done when he leaves the game, unlike some other players who have had to retire multiple times, he certainly won't have any regrets.

As one of the best pure scorers of all-time, Black Mamba has tallied up over 25 points per game throughout his career. He's also averaged 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest while establishing himself as one of most ferocious on-ball defenders.

Bryant has scored 81 points in a game, the second-best mark in NBA history. He's appeared in the NBA finals seven times, winning five championships. He's won NBA Finals MVP twice, regular MVP once, been to 14 All-Star games, he's won the Slam Dunk Contest and an Olympic gold as part of the Redeem Team.

The man has done it all in his career, so for Bryant, who has seen multiple injuries pop up in the last two years, to at least consider retirement in two years is far from a shock.

But while we wait for one of the best basketball players of all time to retire, he still has a few things left on his NBA bucket list. 

First up: Win another gold medal. Next: form a dominant old-man (sorry, Kobe) duo with Steve Nash.