Kobe Bryant is driven To remain retired as effort to prove former athletes can succeed in other ventures.
Because Kobe Bryant poured everything he had into playing 20 years for the Los Angeles Lakers, many questioned how he would handle retirement. There was a widely held belief that the five-time champion would face the same struggle other former athletes did.
After all, both Johnson and Jordan, two of Kobe’s favorite athletes, came out of retirement. However, Bryant so far has been unwavering in his position.
So much so that he isn’t even interested in holding an official title in the Lakers front office. Nonetheless, there’s been many instances of speculation Bryant would come out of retirement.
The latest of which suggested it would be to play alongside LeBron James, and that was followed by a report Bryant was planning to play in the BIG3 League next season.
But during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show,” the Bryant restated he firmly is retired:
“There’s about a zero percent chance that I come back and play. … Nothing. Done. That’s it.”
Bryant then went on to discuss he hasn’t had thoughts of coming out of retirement, because he’s driven to prove critics wrong about whether or not he could cope with a post-playing career life:
“Never. Here’s the thing, for us athletes, it’s really hard to transition from that. I was really personal about it when I wrote “Dear Basketball.” That is the true challenge, of finding what comes next. Finding something you love to do every bit as much as you love your first passion. That is a challenge for us. I think unfortunately for us athletes, we’ve been pigeonholed into thinking that we can only be one thing. So when I retired, everybody said, ‘OK, he’s too competitive. He’s not going to know what to do with himself. He’s going to have to come back.’ I took that as a personal challenge of them thinking I’m this one-dimensional person. That all I know is how to dribble a ball, shoot the ball and play basketball and compete at that level. So I took it as a personal challenge. I will never come back to the game. Ever. I’m here to show people we can do much more than that. Creating this business, winning an Oscar, winning an Emmy, and an Annie, those are things that are showing athletes that come after, ‘No, no. There’s more to this thing.’ So I would never (return). It’s not even a thought.”