<
>

Kobe Bryant seeking career 'rebirth'

Kobe Bryant is not considering retiring despite his recent injury woes, saying instead that he is seeking a career "rebirth" after drawing inspiration from the San Antonio Spurs' recent success.

Bryant, 36, acknowledged that he is unsure whether he can return from his latest season-ending injury during an interview with NBA TV.

"I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. Those guys are still winning. ... I'm hoping I can have the same rebirth."

Kobe Bryant, during interview
with NBA TV

But the Los Angeles Lakers superstar was adamant that he doesn't plan to retire, especially after watching the veteran-laden Spurs win a fifth NBA championship under coach Gregg Popovich last season.

"I can't say it is the end," Bryant said during the interview, which aired Monday night. "I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. Those guys are still winning.

"So, to answer the question, I can't say this is the end of my era because I thought their [era] was done, and they're still there. So I'm hoping I can have the same rebirth."

At one point during the interview, titled "Kobe: The Interview," Bryant was asked what drives him to come back.

"The process of it. I want to see if I can. I don't know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see," Bryant said. "What I'm going to do is do what I always do: I'm going to break everything down to its smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it day by day. Just one day at a time."

In an interview for this month's edition of GQ magazine, Bryant said he's optimistic that the Lakers will be back among the league's elite next season.

"I know what Mitch [Kupchak, the Lakers GM] tells me. I know what Jim and Jeanie [Buss, the team owners] tell me," Bryant said in the interview, which took place in January. "I know that they are hell-bent about having a championship caliber team next season, as am I."

Bryant is recovering from season-ending surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The 17-time All-Star appeared in just six games last season while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.

As for critics who said that Bryant has shot too much during his career, Bryant told GQ that it's all a matter of perspective.

"I've shot too much from the time I was 8 years old," Bryant told the magazine. "But 'too much' is a matter of perspective. Some people thought Mozart had too many notes in his compositions. Let me put it this way: I entertain people who say I shoot too much.

"I find it very interesting. Going back to Mozart, he responded to critics by saying there were neither too many notes or too few. There were as many as necessary."

Bryant, who passed Michael Jordan this season and ranks third in NBA history with 32,482 points, is the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season. He is under contract for $25 million next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.