Will Kobe Bryant retire from the NBA, but continue to play overseas? Remember Kobe Bean did grow up in Italy….
Here is a portion of his interview with Yahoo Sports….
Q: Would you want a farewell tour?
Kobe: “It’s hard to do that type of stuff because I don’t know if I’m going to retire or not. It’s not a swan song when it all has not been written.”
Q: How does your body feel now and what is the difference between now and entering training camp last season?
Kobe: “The body is good. I feel good. … My lower body is solid. There are no question marks on what I can do. My body and my legs feel extremely strong and healthy. That’s the big difference. My upper body, I’ve been doing the weights and stuff like that. I’ve been kind of building up the upper body strength. The biggest change is I feel very, very solid in my legs.”
Q: Why do you still put your body through this after all the years and injuries?
Kobe: “I’m crazy. Ha, ha, ha. I love playing. I enjoy it. It’s weird. You go from as a kid loving the game, thinking you will be able to play forever to being where I am now and understanding there is some finality to it.
“It’s amazing to take a step back and look at that art. You’re kind of the opposite of starting out as a kid. You’re sitting here at 36 and soon to be 37 years old, it’s amazing.”
Q: How do you fight the pain and do the needed rehabilitation?
Kobe: “I just go. Once I make the decision I am going to take this challenge on, I never waver and I never question the investment. I already made the decision. You have those painful moments, but you just keep on moving.”
Q: When you see the mammoth money that could be available to you as a free agent next summer, does that make it more attractive to continue playing?
Kobe: “Zero. Zero. I’ve never played for the money. It’s never moved me. Money can come and go. I have a perspective about finances. The family is fine. What is more money going to bring other than more money? I have my family, I have my health and we’re comfortable financially and that is a massive blessing.
“I don’t want to undervalue the importance of generating any type of whatever. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m underappreciative of that or not thankful for that. But at the same, what is really important? What is the important thing? I never played for money. When I laced my sneakers up when I was a kid in Italy I wasn’t thinking about money. I had no idea how much Magic [Johnson] or [Larry] Bird got paid. I played it because I loved it.”
Q: What do you think about the state of the Lakers right now?
Kobe: “They have really set themselves up for a promising future going on years. I think they drafted very well. The free agents that we picked are extremely solid, [Roy] Hibbert, [Brandon] Bass, Lou [Williams]. We have a very good mix of young and veteran leadership. The challenge is going to be blending the two and cutting down the learning curve.
“How quickly can we get going? How quickly can we bring up [rookie D’Angelo]Russell, [Julius] Randle. [Jordan] Clarkson got valuable experience last year in playing that will benefit us tremendously. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to running with these young guns.”
Q: Can this Lakers team make the playoffs?
Kobe: “Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training]camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”
Q: What do you think about playing small forward?
Kobe: “I don’t see what the big deal is about it, honestly. What does that even mean anyway? Everyone plays [expletive]small ball anyway. You got forwards that play like [guards]. [Centers] that play like [small forwards]. What’s the difference? Find me some actual [small forwards]and [power forwards]that actually post up now and then. …
“What difference does it make? Everyone is spreading the floor anyways unless you’re the Memphis Grizzlies.”
Q: After growing up in Italy and spending time in China, could you see yourself ending your career playing at either place?
Kobe: “I can see myself doing that. I can see myself doing a lot of stuff. That’s a whole other question. I will make some decisions when I decide to hang it up.”