Two months ago, New York Knicks‘ president Phil Jackson said that he did not believe that Kobe Bryant would retire after this season during a training camp press conference. Even going as far as to say that Bryant might leave the Los Angeles Lakers for another team.
"“I don’t think this is his last year. Might be his last year as a Laker.”"
"“I can’t see it,”“I don’t see why he would at this late stage of his career — go all these years with the Lakers to spend one year with another team. I think it’s a bigger picture when it comes down to your legacy and things like that. At this stage, that’s what matters — how you carry out your legacy.”"
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Wither Kobe stays as a Laker throughout his career or leave for a contender after this season, Kobe’s legacy will always be with the Lakers, going to another team does not change that. Has Michael Jordan playing for the Washington Wizards changed his legacy as the greatest of all time?
Or even one of Kobe’s teammate, Karl Malone. Did Malone tarnish his legacy when he joined the Lakers in 2003 in hopes of obtaining his first NBA Championship. No, that does not change his 18 year history with the Utah Jazz. Sticking with the Jazz, how do we view John Stockton‘s legacy? Was it more honorable for him to stay with Utah throughout his career and not try to chase that elusive NBA Championship?
Yes, it would look weird for Bryant to be in another jersey but it has been done. One of Bryant’s rivals, Paul Pierce recently has donned multiple jerseys besides the green and white Boston Celtics’ colors. You never thought that would happen either but it did. Twice, with the Wizards and now with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Black Mamba is one of the All-Time great Lakers, nothing will change that.
If you are a purist though, have no fear, Bryant has continually squashed any rumors of him playing for another team next season. The latest coming after their first victory this season against the Brooklyn Nets, as per Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
"“I’ve said it so many times. I’m here, I’m a Laker for life,”“I’m not playing anywhere else, no matter what. It’s just not going to happen. I bleed purple and gold, and that’s just how it’s going to be.”"
Laker for life. We will just have to wait and see if this is truly how he feels or will tying Jordan’s six NBA Championships mean more to how he perceives his own legacy.