It was maybe the first hint that came straight from the horse's mouth last night after receiving his NBA record tying fourth All-Star Game MVP. When TNT's Ernie Johnson asked Kobe Bryant what it meant to win the MVP award in front of his home crowd, he casually responded, "This will be my last All-Star game in front of these home fans."
The response isn't as much shocking as it is a friendly reminder that Kobe Bryant is not going to play forever. At some point, just like Michael Jordan, he is going to have to call it a career.
There was a seven-year gap between All-Star games in LA, so I guess it's safe to say that he's going to hang it up sometime between now and at least 2018. He also recently surpassed Jordan in games played, serving as yet another reminder that even the great ones can't play forever.
Kobe Bryant is 32 years old and is playing in his 15th NBA season with the Lakers. He's appeared in 198 career playoff games (the equivalent of two-and-a-half NBA seasons) while participating for Team USA during the offseason in 2007 and 2008 and also committing to the 2012 team.
With this in mind, let's take a look at the top-five signs that we may be seeing the beginning of the end of Kobe's long and illustrious career.