Byron Scott, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, cannot see Kobe Bryant, a career-long member of the Los Angeles Lakers, playing for another team other than the Los Angeles Lakers.
Well, that’s surprising.
In absolutely no way.
New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson sent Twitter into a miniature tizzy at the start of training camp, when he
openly recruited Kobe to come to the Big Apple suggested that this upcoming season wouldn’t be Kobe’s last, and that the Black Mamba would actually return in 2016-17 while playing for an organization that didn’t wear purple and gold.
Kobe of course scoffed at the comments of his former head coach and lifelong championship pal. But because we the media and you the people aren’t exactly adept at letting things go, the musings of a 70-year-old rival front office executive, who probably doesn’t have anything other than a gut feeling when it comes to Kobe, matter. And because they matter, Scott was forced to address them, and he was none too receptive.
From USA Today‘s Sam Amick:
Byron on whether he could ever see Kobe Bryant playing for another NBA team (After New York Knicks’ president Phil Jackson raised the possibility, Bryant – who will be a free agent next summer and isn’t sure yet whether he’ll retire – told Yahoo! Sports that he has no interest in playing for any NBA team other than the Lakers).
“I can’t see it. I mean I can’t see it. I really can’t,” he said. “I think just like Magic Johnson, even MJ (Michael Jordan), who went to Washington (after two years out of the game at the age of 37), but still when you think of MJ you think of the Chicago Bulls. When I think of Kobe, I don’t care what happens, I think everybody will always think of him as a Laker and one of the greatest Lakers to ever play the game.”
Though I make jokes, Kobe’s future will be one of the more interesting developments to follow this season.
No one actually knows whether he’ll call it quits after 2015-16. We expect it, and we don’t expect it. A lot depends on how this season unfolds. The Lakers won’t be competing for anything special, so if Kobe remains healthy and productive and shows that he can serve as a glorified complementary piece, the idea of him chasing that sixth championship ring with a different team isn’t ridiculously absurd.
Then again, he’s declared himself a Laker for life. And if that’s the case, retirement is the more likely option. Maybe he gets hurt again (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen) and decides he has unfinished business. Perhaps the Lakers stage an unlikely free-agency coup next summer, securing two in-prime superstars who compel Kobe to return for a 21st season.
Failing that, if Kobe really is a Laker for life, he’ll walk away. There’s little point in him pressing on in Los Angeles, no matter how well or poorly he plays this year, if the Lakers will be spending the next few seasons fending off other Western Conference bottom-feeders.