Although it is still early in the 2019-20 NBA season, the championship expectations have only been amplified for the Los Angeles Lakers after debuting their new All-Star duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Fans have not been this optimistic since Kobe Bryant was still wearing the purple and gold at the start of the decade. Of course, much has changed around the league since his playing days.
The league underwent a bit of a transformation after being dominated by superteams to ushering in some much-needed balance now that most household names have been divided up into pairs. Even though Los Angeles managed to secure one of the most formidable duos in the NBA, fans are now marveling at the prospect of Bryant potentially coming out of retirement to be part of the movement alongside James and Davis.
Bryant dispelled any notion of returning for another championship ring even if it were guaranteed, via Ledlow and Parker Podcast:
“No. No. No. No. I like my rings the hard way. I like fighting through them and earning them that way. I don’t like to jump into the easy route, so I wouldn’t take it.”
Bryant’s comments should hardly come as any surprise considering his reputation as one of the fiercest competitors in NBA history. Of course, that is hardly only the notable element of his response since it seems to indicate that the ‘easy route’ is the one James and Davis are taking now.
It is no secret that Bryant has been part of a couple of notable duos himself with Shaquille O’Neal early in his career and Pau Gasol later on. However, it is safe to say that those pairings happened much more organically and he managed to take full advantage by winning a three-peat with O’Neal and back-to-back championships with Gasol nearly a decade later.
Bryant’s comments could very well just be an indication of just how confident he is in his ability to still play at a high level despite being retired and that adding him to form an All-Star trio would only serve to secure an easy championship.
Regardless, it is clear that the five-time champion has no regrets about how his illustrious career came to an end and he is perfectly content with watching the NBA continue to evolve.