Kobe Bryant will be 35 for only three more days, and he already feels twice as old.
Sports Illustrated tweeted a photo of its upcoming issue, featuring Kobe Bryant on a regional cover. The pull quote reads: “I’m 70 in basketball years.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 19, 2014
When Bryant eventually retires, his minutes will stand out as one of his more impressive statistics, even in a resume packed with outlier offensive performances. Consider this: Bryant has already played more than 54,000 combined regular season and playoff minutes.
Bryant ranks 13th all-time in regular season minutes and is third among active players, trailing only Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. If Bryant plays at least 2,292 minutes this season (28 minutes per game), he’ll move ahead of Wilt Chamberlain and rank sixth all-time. However, at that rate, Bryant will feel at least 80 if he catches the league leader and fellow Laker great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who’s played almost 12,000 more minutes than Bryant. Abdul-Jabbar played until he was 41 years old.
Bryant has two obvious incentives to keep playing — he’s just one championship shy of matching Jordan and 6,687 points short of the all-time scoring mark. Not that he’s manically competitive or anything.