Social media recently caught fire for a few hours amid speculation Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant would come out of retirement to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 League next year. The report stemmed from comments co-founder and co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz made on a conference call.
While discussing the BIG3 League playoffs, Kwatinetz said he was informed by someone close to Bryant that he intended to participate in 3-on-3 league in their next season. However, that was later dismissed by Kobe Inc. chief marketing officer Molly Carter.
Then Bryant himself adamantly denied having any interest in coming out of retirement — whether to play or join the Lakers in an official capacity. Nonetheless, Cube and Jeanie Buss remain aggressive in their respective pursuits.
Reaction to the thought of Bryant taking the court was all over the spectrum. Some didn’t believe it to be true, others were ecstatic, and a smaller faction, perhaps jokingly, said he should instead join the Lakers.
Some of the LakersNation.com staff joined that discussion, explaining why or why not Bryant should come out of retirement.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015)
I’m genuinely torn on the thought of Kobe Bryant ever coming out of retirement. Sure, there’s intrigue in how he would fare, particularly in the BIG3 setting. However, scoring 60 points in your final game is a sendoff unlike any other that we’ve seen.
And I do think there’s something to be said for Bryant finding peace in his retirement. So let’s split the difference and see him on the practice court at some point with the Lakers this season.
Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand)
I don’t think he would ever do it, but absolutely, I would love to see Kobe Bryant play in the BIG3.
There are very few athletes in the history of sports that are as competitive as Kobe, and I know that is still in him somewhere. So I think it would be fun to see him compete at a semi-high level once again.
The last time we saw Kobe play basketball, he was scoring 60 points and leading the Lakers to a comeback victory in the most epic, mic-drop final game in NBA history. So if he were to play in the BIG3, he would instantly become the best player in the league, and I would love to see it.
Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane)
I would prefer not to see Bryant play in the BIG3. It’s not that I don’t think he could do it, because I’m sure his considerable skills would allow him to be successful, but I don’t think it benefits him in any way.
He’s done it all in the game of basketball and his 60-point finale against the Utah Jazz was the best non-playoffs finish that we could ever dream of.
I’d rather just let that incredible performance be the lasting memory of Bryant on a basketball court. Bryant shouldn’t play in the BIG3, and while we’re at it, let’s all agree that Michael Jordan on the Wizards didn’t happen either.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH)
The BIG3 is more popular and entertaining than I ever thought it would be. But despite that, I really have no desire to see Kobe Bryant suit up for the league.
The main reason is that the last basketball memory I have of Kobe is the unreal 60-point finale against the Jazz, and I want that to remain the case. That was truly one of the most unbelievable moments I’ve ever witnessed and seeing him suit up again, even in another league, would ruin that for me.
I have no doubts that Kobe would be excellent in the BIG3, and quite frankly I’d be shocked if he didn’t win MVP if he were to ever join. That being said, we already had the perfect ‘Mamba Out’ moment. We have to let that remain.