The finish line for Kobe Bryant's career may be very near. Or maybe not.
His contract with the Lakers runs through the 2013-14 season, and Bryant suggested in a recent cbssports.com story he might then retire.
After practice Tuesday, reporters asked Bryant if he would only play for two more seasons. "We'll see from year to year where it goes," Bryant said.
What would it take for him to come back for a third year?
"How the hell do I know?" Bryant said. "It's three years from now."
Bryant suggested that playing pro basketball for nearly two decades is a major mental challenge.
"I think it's always the mental part because physically you know what you have to do whether it's a knee injury or an ankle injury, whatever it is, you make those adjustments physically, you change your regimen a little bit, you do physical therapy," Bryant said. "The mentality of preparing year in and year out, it's going on 17 years and every off-season has been more work than the regular season, so it's a lot of work."
Bryant certainly didn't look old on the court Tuesday.
During a five-on-five scrimmage, Bryant scored two consecutive slam dunks. He said that his body has not felt this good since 2006. Then after talking with the media, he returned to the court for some shooting and dribbling drills.
Bryant is widely considered to be one of the best basketball players of all time and has career averages of 25.4 points and 5.3 rebounds -- but he made it clear that he still has unfinished business on the court.
A sixth championship ring.
He thinks that playing alongside Dwight Howard will make that goal much easier to accomplish.