36 year old Kobe Bryant spent a lot of time yesterday talking to the media and answering questions about his health going into his 19th NBA season. Bryant, sounding like a vet who has been through this type of “hoop-la” too many times to find any excitement out of it, mentioned that he only has a few more of these and knows the upcoming season and his remaining time in the league can come and go with the blink of an eye. When talking about Derek Jeter’s final walk off the field and through the hallways, he sounded as if he was talking about how he hopes his final walk be.
Bryant also talked to Marc Spears of Yahoo about leaving the game.
“The biggest key for anybody in retirement is you always want to retire by choice,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports. “Hopefully, I will be fortunate enough to have that option. You don’t want to see another catastrophic injury or something like that. When you walk away, you want to feel like you walked away on your terms.”
Like Jeter, Kobe talked about how Michael Jordan was also able to leave the game when he wanted.
“He still left on his terms because he wanted to leave. If he wanted to continue to play the game, he’d continue to play the game even if it’s not at the level that we are all accustomed to. You want to play, you play. You don’t want to play, you walk away. But at least it’s not because of a devastating injury.
“For me, it’s the same thing. When I leave, it’s because I choose to.”