Lately it seems like every person who has ever worked with Kobe Bryant has been asked or wanted to chime in with their opinion on his future, and whether or not he will retire. First there was Shaquille O'Neal saying he hoped that Bryant would not retire. More recently, New York Knicks president and former head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers during all five of Bryant's championships, Phil Jackson, tweaked Lakers fans and management by implying that while Bryant might be done playing with in the purple and gold after this season, he could still play longer in the NBA.
Now it is apparently former Bryant teammate Rick Fox's turn to speculate on Bryant's future, and the former Lakers wing echoed Phil Jackson's sentiments, even down to their similar wording, when asked by Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News whether or not he thought the future Hall of Famer and 19-year veteran would retire after his 20th season in Los Angeles (emphasis mine):
"I don't think this is his last year. It might be his last year in L.A. But it won't be his last year in the game. I think he'll play overseas in China. Or maybe go to New York and be with Derek (Fisher) and Phil (Jackson) and mentor the other players with the triangle offense."
This is very similar to what Jackson told reporters in late September when he said "I don't think it's his last year... Sounds like it may be his last year as a Laker." Could the two know something we don't know?
Probably not. Bryant is notorious for playing things close to the vest, and it seems unlikely that he would have shared some secret plan to spend his last season with the Knicks with Fox and Jackson a year in advance, especially when Bryant has repeatedly said he will wait on any decisions on his future until after he sees how he plays this season.
Also making this scenario unlikely were Bryant's fairly direct response to Jackson's insinuations, as when asked by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports about the possibility of his playing elsewhere he said simply, "Dude, I bleed purple and gold." That does not sound like a man who wants to leave his Los Angeles lifestyle behind for one year of freelancing in the Big Apple.