Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant walked away from basketball in 2016, finally hanging it up after two decades with the team. He went out on a high note, scoring an incredible 60 points as he led come-from-behind victory over the Utah Jazz to close out the 2015-16 NBA season.
Since retiring, Bryant has focused on storytelling. He won an Oscar for his poem “Dear Basketball,” which he used to announce his pending retirement from the game during his final season. Most recently, Bryant created a show called “Detail” for ESPN, which focuses on in-depth basketball analysis from his perspective.
Still, one has to wonder if Bryant still possesses the itch to get back out on the hardwood and compete. Ice Cube, creator of the BIG3 basketball league that has featured a plethora of retired NBA players, said on “The Cruz Show” that the door remains open for Bryant to join whenever he is ready:
“I’m working him every chance I get. What’s cool about the BIG3, we’re here, so whenever he gets the itch, we’ll be here for him to ball out. Some guys, when they finish the NBA, they’re done. When they finish the NBA, they’re done. He played 20 years. But, he may get tired of winning Oscars and want to come play. We’ll be ready for him. … Whatever he wants to do with the league, we’ll make room for him, no problem.”
BIG3 plays in a halfcourt setting and only allows three players from each team on the floor at a time, giving it a feel similar to pickup games seen on courts around the world.
For former stars who still have some juice left in the tank but can’t endure the rigors of full-court basketball at the NBA level for 82 games a season, BIG3 offers an ideal setting for them to continue to showcase their skills.
The league already has a few former Lakers playing, such as Metta World Peace and Kwame Brown, and stars like Chauncey Billups and Amar’e Stoudemire, but Bryant would be a dream signing for them.
There hasn’t been any indication from Bryant that he will actually join the BIG3, but Ice Cube nonetheless continues to recruit the five-time champion.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB