Kobe, a 12-year vet, scoffs at idea that he’ll slow soon. Do you think he’ll slow down in 3-4 years from now? Sound-off in the comments and tell us what you think!
Sports Illustrated: How many years can Kobe Bryant remain a dominant star? As a 29-year-old in his 12th NBA season, the assumption has been that he senses his biological clock ticking away and that he may have only three years of supremacy left in him — which would explain why he’s in such a hurry to win now.
But Bryant doesn’t see it that way. He takes offense at predictions that he’ll begin to decline at 32.
“You’re telling me I only have two or three years left,” he said when I approached him with the theory last week. “Tell me that. I want you to.”
In other words, he’s happy to use the shrinking-window theory as inspiration to prove everyone wrong.
The issue of his longevity is hard to assess because the league is still trying to define players like Bryant, who jumped to the Lakers from high school as an 18-year-old in 1996. Does the league take his birth certificate at face value? Or is he viewed as being 32 or 33 in NBA years because he started his career so much earlier than the college-raised players of previous generations?
“Kobe’s won three championships in a row from October to June, and that’s a lot of basketball at a high level. So there is a lot of mileage,” said Nets point guard Jason Kidd, who teamed with Bryant for USA Basketball in August. “But seeing him this summer and the way he takes care of himself, he’s always preparing himself to play and be the focal point.
“It would be interesting if you compared his minutes. Don’t look at the field goal attempts — just the minutes, and that will be what it’s all about.”