Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant said Tuesday on the Ledlow & Parker podcast he would have no interest in coming out of retirement to join an NBA superteam, even if it meant missing out on a guaranteed championship.
"I like my rings the hard way," he said. "I like fighting for them and earning them. I don't like jumping to the easier route, so I wouldn't take it."
Bryant won five championships with the Lakers during his career, which ended after the 2015-16 season. His final game was a memorable one as he scored 60 points in a win over the Utah Jazz.
The fact that he's one title behind Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, combined with L.A.'s roster reconstruction over the past two years—highlighted by the arrivals of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis—has led to unfounded speculation Kobe may look to return.
In August 2018, Bryant said on the Rich Eisen Show there was a "zero percent" chance he would make a comeback:
Although an argument could be made the Lakers need another wing scorer, especially one with the 18-time All-Star selection's track record, a Bryant return was always an extreme long shot. It's hard to imagine someone with his competitive fire taking on a backseat role.