Speculation is high regarding Kobe Bryant's future, and while he's still clearly waiting to make a decision on his retirement, he made one thing clear about his plans. Kobe has no intention of ending his career with any franchise but the Los Angeles Lakers, he told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
"Dude, I bleed purple and gold," he told Spears when asked about the possibility of him playing elsewhere once his contract with the Lakers expires at the end of the '15-16 season. Word may have traveled quickly that his former coach Phil Jackson decided to speculate that while he doesn't believe Kobe will retire at the end of the season, he might be looking at his final season with the franchise he's hitting year No. 20 with.
The big question in the air remains whether or not he'll try to continue his career once the season ends, which he's continued to emphasize he's taking a wait-and-see approach with. Kobe spoke about various aspects of the Lakers' current status, including embracing the opportunity to mentor D'Angelo Russell, during his media day interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Julius Randle -- who grew up idolizing Bryant -- recently credited Kobe for being the biggest helping hand he received during his recovery, then went on to say he hopes the young team can give the Black Mamba a reason to continue his career.
Bryant's health is the biggest factor in this equation, and while Byron Scott expects to limit him, the coaching staff has yet to hash out a minutes restriction yet. Working back into playing shape during training camp is the next step for Kobe, who is trying to recover from another season-ending injury. The Lakers have fully-cleared him for all basketball activities, getting him started in line with the rest of his new teammates.
If he does feel like lacing up his signature Kobe models for another season, he continues to sound resolute that it won't be for any team but the Lakers. His intention to end his career with the same franchise that drafted him is one Lakers fans can rest easy about, even if an old friend tries to Zen-up some angst within the Lakers fan base.