While some former athletes have encountered finding peace in retirement, such has not been the case for Kobe Bryant after playing 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. While basketball consumed his life, Bryant has made a seamless transition into other ventures.
He began to lay the foundation by establishing Granity Studios and delving into storytelling, which Bryant championed as another passion of his. Fittingly, he won an Oscar Award for best animated short for “Dear Basketball,” which was based off the poem Bryant penned to announce his retirement.
Since then, he went into a partnership with ESPN on a series that had Bryant analyzing film of players who were in the NBA Playoffs. Bryant also saw a $6 million investment in BodyArmor increase in value to $200 million.
One path he has avoided, however, is establishing any sort of formal ties to the sport he tirelessly worked to become perfect at. Though, that may be changing.
According to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, it was intimated on a conference call that Bryant may be coming out of retirement to play in the BIG3 League next season:
Ice Cube: “We have a list of people that we would love to see, I think the fans would love to see. The fans would love to see Kobe, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Anybody who still has the passion to play. We don’t want you if you don’t have the passion to play. If Kobe doesn’t have have the passion to play at this level, then it’s better for him to watch on TV. If he has the passion, then here we are.”
Jeff Kwatinetz (co-founder & co-CEO): “I did hear from a credible source that Kobe is going to be playing next year. That’s something, but it may be nothing.”
Ice Cube: “That would be amazing.”
Bryant joining would of course be music to founder Ice Cube’s ears, who recently said he’s constantly rejected by the Lakers legend but would not stop recruiting him for the BIG3 League. The report also comes on the heels of Stephen Jackson being appalled that a reporter would question whether or not the five-time champion is capable of succeeding in the 3-on-3 format.
Although it may be somewhat unfathomable, Bryant playing in the BIG3 League is certainly more of a plausible scenario than when Shaquille O’Neal claimed his former teammate was coming out of retirement to join LeBron James on the Lakers.