Kobe Bryant denies retirement talk, saying ‘soon, but not yet’

Kobe Bryant may have hinted at the impending end of his career during his trying 17th season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he put the kibosh on such talk early Monday morning.


Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, at a May 2 charity event. Bryant underwent Achilles surgery April 13. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, at a May 2 charity event. Bryant underwent Achilles surgery April 13. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Bryant, 35, had inadvertently fueled the talk over the weekend with a Facebook post about a major announcement. But that turned out to be a charity endeavor for later this summer. As for Bryant right now, he’s working on recovering from surgery to repair his Achilles (see it here). While he’s riding that stationary bike, he’s evidently pondering whether Phil Jackson really likes Michael Jordan better or whether the Zen Master was just messing with him.

In his new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” Jackson rated MJ, with whom he won six NBA titles, over Bryant, with whom he won five, in leadership, ability and personality.

“Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe,” Jackson writes in “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” which will be released May 21 and was excerpted in the Los Angeles Times. “He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around.

“Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.”

Jackson sought to clarify his assessment after it drew headlines late last week.

Bryant responded:


Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · May 17, 2013

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