Kobe Bryant says he would have scored 40,000 points without Shaq; drops hint of retiring next year
Father time has certainly taken a delay in catching up with Los Angeles Lakers superstar, Kobe Bryant. After another performance in which Kobe Bryant played over 40 minutes in a win against the Philadelphia 76ers, LA Times’ T.J. Simers interviewed Kobe Bryant. Agreeing that he is a ball hog, Bryant was very candid in every question asked to him.
Kobe is asked about the 17 years he’s been coming back home to play in Philadelphia and how many more times will he get to play here.
“Next year could be my last time,” he says.
“Next year could be my last time,” he repeats, and when I (T.J. Simers) remind him he’s playing so well and he might want to keep playing, he shakes his head.
“No, it’s a lot of work,” he says. “I have to do a lot of, lot of, lot of work. Like every middle-aged man that feels his body is just slowing down, it keeps pushing me, but it’s so much work.”
Then the topic of scoring came up regarding Steve Nash returning to the lineup. A reporter asked if this would cut Kobe’s scoring down. Bryant replied not at all. Then Bryant said if he played in coach, Mike D’Antoni’s open offense his whole career and not paired with Shaquille O’Neal, he could have scored a lot more points than he has now.
“I’m a scorer, man, you don’t get 30,000 points without knowing how to put yourself in positions to shoot it,” he says. “The ball finds scorers, and I like shooting.
Look at my career,” he says. “When you have another dominant teammate, you have the capability of winning more and individually you sacrifice more.
“If I was playing in this Mike D’Antoni system when I was 21 or 23, forget it. The floor is spread and you just get to the rim.”
So I ask, “Would you have 40,000 points by now?”
“If I wasn’t playing with Shaq, probably,” he says. “I would have scored a lot more for sure.”