Kobe Bryant spoke to media before his final game in his hometown of Philadelphia, the first road appearance of his farewell tour. The five-time champion called his announcement and this game against the 76ers lining up the "cherry on top" as he officially begins his march to retirement. While he reflected on growing up on the trash-talking playgrounds of Philly, he also looked ahead and sounded open to working with the Los Angeles Lakers behind the scenes, via Bill Oram of the OC Register.
"It would be an honor to help them with that transition and help them get back to the top," Kobe said when asked if he'd be interested in a role with the Lakers in his post-playing days. He didn't go into detail about what kind of role he'd be open to, but it's fun to consider where he could lend his expertise. As for owning a team, it's not something he's given much consideration to yet.
Bryant announced his retirement plans in a poem published on The Players' Tribune, and with an eight-game road trip kicking off for the Lakers, will have an opportunity to put some of his final games into context for both himself and fans. Philadelphia is obviously one of the marquee Kobe stops, a place where he grew up, famously said he was coming to rip 76ers fans hearts out as the Lakers rode in for a back-to-back title, and now his basketball life comes full circle for the Lower Merion phenom.
Here's more from Kobe's pregame press conference:
Kobe had said in high school he wanted to be a Sixer, but mentioned Sixers drafted Iverson So childhood ambitions of being Laker took focus— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 1, 2015
Bryant said he doesn’t have a preference between 24 or 8 when the Lakers retire his jersey, but he’s evolved more into himself in 24.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 1, 2015
Kobe mentioned how his journey at No. 8 was more difficult in having a lesser role + facilitating offense— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 1, 2015
Kobe's in a good mood in Philly. pic.twitter.com/AuYAI1R9pS— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 1, 2015