It’s impossible to imagine a Lakers team without Kobe Bryant, especially if he’s been there for almost the entirety of your lifetime. Kobe hasn’t decided when he’ll retire for sure just yet, but he has said on a number of occasions that it very well may be after his contract expires at the end of next season. That means that Kobe has two years, possibly more, to add more rings to the five he already has.

Photo Courtesy: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

In a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest on Nov. 16, Kobe was asked whether the Lakers are going to win a championship this season. “We better,” he said, then he started to laugh. He went on to say, “I don’t know how many years I got left, let me have one more.”

The Lakers have now won the last four of five games, the lone loss being the two-point defeat to San Antonio. Even in that game, the Lakers showed some promise.

In their win against Phoenix on Friday, the Lakers shot nearly 50% en route to 114 points. The offense seems to be falling into place just as Mike D’Antoni prepares to take over coaching duties sometime this week.

As the players start getting used to D’Antoni’s offense, they’re going to start winning more games, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more losses. Nobody expected this team to go 82-0 in the first place. Losses happen in the regular season. The 2010 Lakers team had a 57-25 record, ending the season losing the last 7 of 11 games. They went on to win the NBA Championship.

“I don’t care what happens in November, December, January. Come June, there better be a parade on Figueroa,” Kobe said.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right? And after 17 seasons in the NBA, Kobe must know what he’s talking about.

For now, let’s take one game at a time. Regular season losses are just that: regular season losses. The Lakers have grown so much in just nine games, and the Playoffs are more than five months down the road. That’s a lot of time for them to continue to up their play and get to a level where they can compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy come June.