Bryant sat down for an interview with Yahoo! Sports' Graham Bensinger recently, and the Laker great was reminded of his rookie season, when he said he would retire at age 35. Now that he's about to enter season No. 17, the 14-time All-Star says that's "still probably accurate," something that might come as a surprise to Lakers fans who watch him night in and night out.
"That's a long time to be playing," Bryant said. "It'll be the last year of my contract. I don't know if I will play any longer than that. I don't know. It's just a possibility. It's not something I even give it much thought to, but it's a possibility. It could happen."
With this news, the acquisition of 38-year-old Steve Nash and Pau Gasol turning 32 earlier this summer, it's obvious the Lakers are an aging team whose championship window may be closing sometime soon. Bryant's contract runs through the 2013-14 season, at which point he plans to make a decision.
"I think you've seen so many players retire, think they know and then come back. I don't want to be one of those guys, but I know they've all said it too," Bryant said. "It must be tougher than it sounds to be able to retire and know when that moment is actually there. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, I guess."
In other words, cherish these moments, all you Lakers fans. That bridge is fast approaching.
You can hear more from Bryant in the interview below.