Kobe Bryant Says He Wouldn't Come Out of Retirement for Guaranteed Championship

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2019

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2018 file photo, Kobe Bryant arrives at the 90th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. Bryant’s Granity Studios plans to release five middle grade and young adult novels in 2019 and 2020. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
Jordan Strauss/Associated Press

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.

Bryant told Turner Sports' Kristen Ledlow and Candace Parker (h/t Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports) he prefers to earn his titles.

"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."

Ballislife.com @Ballislife

Would @kobebryant return to the NBA if he were guaranteed a ring? KOBE: No. No. No. No. I like my rings the hard way. I like to fight through them. I don’t like to jump into the easy route.” (Via @KristenLedlow & @Candace_Parker Podcast) https://t.co/VrTk5KoKCB

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:

Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow

With rumors swirling in Los Angeles of a possible return to join @KingJames, @Lakers great @kobebryant gave us a definitive comeback percentage: https://t.co/gJl8c9CZ0E

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.