Kobe Bryant scoffs at retirement talk

Word over what Kobe Bryant termed a “surprise announcement” coupled with a hoax Twitter account reporting his retirement sent Lakers fans into a frenzy over the weekend.

Too bad it wasn’t true.

Bryant announced at Sports Spectacular he’d host an event in mid August to help eradicate homelessness. Meanwhile, Bryant scoffed at any notion that he’d hang it up following a storied 17-year career.

Bryant’s work involves plenty.

First, he’s currently rehabbing his torn left Achilles tendon, an injury the Lakers believe will sideline him at least for another five to seven months. Few doubt Bryant will return given his insatiable work ethic and pain threshold. Plenty wonder, though, whether Bryant can duplicate the 27.3 points he averaged last season as the NBA’s third leading scorer. But Bryant expressed in his exit interview three weeks ago that he’ll simply cater his game so he’s not overly relying on his athleticism and focusing more on his fundamentals.

After all, Bryant has things still to cross off his bucket list.

The first item: secure his sixth NBA championship ring. Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson has also longly suspected Bryant feels particularly motivated to pass Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Jordan has 32,292 points while Bryant has 31,617 points.

Jackson contended in his upcoming memoir that will be released tomorrow that Jordan remains better than Bryant in leadership, defense and shooting consistency. Yet, Bryant immediately downplayed the talk surrounding Jackson’s commentary.

That’s also perhaps why Bryant suggested he’ll delve into the publishing business himself.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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