End of the Line: Bryant’s Departure from the NBA

Harry How | Getty Images Sport

Kobe Bryant is Laker royalty. He’s spent more seasons, more games and more minutes in a purple and gold jersey than any other player in the team’s history. In a new era where star players pack up and move to success, Bryant stayed in the same place for 16 years.  It’s probably the reason why it’s going to seem so strange to watch a Laker game when Kobe Bryant finally calls it quits – the idea of a Laker team without Bryant is so foreign that we refuse to acknowledge it as a possibility.

But with every season opened, every game played and every basket shot, all things come to a close. In a discussion with CBSSports.com, Bryant outlined that the 2013-14 NBA season will likely be his last in professional basketball:

Speaking with CBSSports.com in a quiet moment after practice, Bryant conceded that, in all likelihood, the finish line and the conclusion of his current contract will be one in the same. Bryant has two years left, and though he was careful to point out, “One can never be too sure,” he made it clear in the next breath it’s almost unfathomable he would play beyond 2013-14, which would be his 18th season.

“It’s just that three more years seems like a really long time to continue to stay at a high, high level of training and preparation and health,” Bryant said. “That’s a lot of years. For a guard? That’s a lot of years.”

Bryant hasn’t been shy during preseason interviews insinuating that the Lakers will be Dwight Howard’s team soon enough, and has also mentioned that he has no desire to resign as a role player to chase records in the twilight of his career. For the Lakers and for Bryant, the next few seasons are a farewell tour of sorts to one of the game’s all-time greats. LakerNation, what do you take from this? With possibly two years left of Bryant, what Laker moments of his are forever etched in your memory?

James Cypert is a news and feature writer for LakerNation.com. When he's not perfecting his ill-advised Kareem-style sky-hook, you can find him on Laker Nation or follow him on Twitter.