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Kobe Bryant says he can play five more years but probably won't

April 11, 2013|By Eric Pincus

Kobe Bryant played 48 minutes on Wednesday night in a 113-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, the second win for the Lakers on back-to-back nights.

At 34 years old, Bryant certainly doesn't look like a player whose career is winding down.

"I can probably play another five years," said Bryant to Kevin Frazier on "Connected With...Kobe Bryant," which aired on Wednesday night via Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

"I'm not saying I'm going to play five years...but physically I could play," he continued.

The bigger question is "Will he?"

"Right now, no," said Bryant, who has one more year left on his contract.  "It might change but right now, no.  It's too much."

The Lakers (42-37) are in eighth place.  A single loss over the final three games could give the Utah Jazz (41-38) a chance to knock the Lakers out of the playoffs.  Point guard Steve Nash has been sidelined with a hip and hamstring injury, prompting Bryant to take on a bigger role with the team.

"At this point and time of the season, we don't really have much of an option," said the Lakers' All-Star guard.  "It's do or die time for us now.  Steve going down to injury really puts more pressure on me to be out there, playing the majority of the game and playmaking and scoring."

Bryant noted his body he can handle the heavy workload.

"I had a really good summer.  I was able to strengthen and condition my body," he said.  "I didn't have any injuries.  I think the Olympic team - the experience helped out a lot because I was able to kind of play and stay in rhythm but still wasn't overtaxing my body."

"Obviously the diet and shedding weight and all that fun stuff - the ice baths," continued Bryant.  "It's a lot of commitment."

Frazier touched on a number of issues in nearly 30 minutes of conversation with Bryant.

The Lakers guard said he and teammate Dwight Howard get along but have very different temperaments.

"It's like a brother relationship - you can have two siblings in a household that just don't have the same personalities," said Bryant.  "[I'm] just trying to bring the best out of him.  Just showing him - you want to get to the elite, elite level -- this is the kind of attention to detail you need to have.  This is the kind of consistency of focus you need to have."

Bryant also expressed his appreciation for teammates Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol.

"He's one of my favorite players that I've ever played with," said Bryant of World Peace.  "He's extremely, extremely intense.  He plays hard every single night and he's a competitor, a fierce competitor"

Bryant said he has no real patience for anyone claiming Gasol's play has declined this season.

"Those people are idiots. They don't know the game," he said.  "We communicate very, very easily because we played together for so long.  We've seen pretty much every defense we can possibly see.

Gasol's has been resurgent since coming back from a foot injury that knocked him out for over six weeks.

The Lakers have three games remaining, all at Staples Center starting Friday against the Golden State Warriors.  They also play Sunday (San Antonio Spurs) and Wednesday (Houston Rockets).

ALSO:

Kobe Bryant scores 47 points to lead Lakers to win at Portland

Metta World Peace wanted to return early from injury to help teammates

Lakers finish road schedule with strong record over final 20 games

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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