Welp. That certainly was a fun 90 minutes or so. Per Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press, Kobe Bryant will not actually be coming out of retirement to play in The BIG3 League.
Mahoney got his information from a pretty good source, too:
Forget that Kobe to the #BIG3 idea. Molly Carter, chief marketing officer of Kobe Inc., says he definitely is not playing next year.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) August 21, 2018
Look, honestly, this was never going to happen. Bryant has moved on from basketball and seems perfectly happy with that decision. He also doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would waffle on that big a decision, either.
Maybe Bryant was promised some kind of ownership stake in the league that obviously would’ve gained incredible value had he committed to playing, but even there, he’s so capable of making money elsewhere that besmirching his basketball legacy by playing in essentially an off-Broadway league just doesn’t make sense.
Bryant left basketball in almost perfect fashion. He scored those 60 points against the Utah Jazz, capping an indisputably incredible career. It was one of the most magical nights that I can recall as a fan not only of the Lakers but of the NBA in general.
Think of it this way: Michael Jordan came back to the NBA and played for a different team. A part of just about every fan out there wishes he would have stayed away and ended his career on that jumper in Utah.
This idea that Kobe would play in a completely different (and objectively lesser) league after ending his carer on the terms I detailed above is patently ridiculous. Even those who wanted to be able to watch Kobe even for just a little while would concede that a part of them is happy he’s staying away.
Maybe things change if other high-end talent signs up to play in the league, but until then, Kobe will continue to enjoy what has to be a pretty comfortable retirement.