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Does Kobe Bryant miss playing basketball? No. He explains why

Kobe Bryant is all smiles after his final game at Staples Center.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It’s almost hard to imagine that it’s only been a year since the last time we saw Kobe Bryant don the purple and gold Lakers uniform. Of course who could forget the 60-point performance in Bryant’s finale?

He has many memorable moments throughout his 20-year career with the Lakers. So you would think he would miss the game.

“No, I don’t,” Bryant said Monday on “Good Morning America.”

Before we jump to any conclusions, Bryant explained that the game is still part of him.

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“It’s crazy,” he said. “I started playing when I was 2, and so after playing for 20 years in the league, what I have now is, everything I’ve learned from the game, I carry with me to this day, so the game’s never truly left me.

“Physically, yes, but emotionally and the things that I write all stem from the game, so it’s still a part of me.”

He goes on to say things must come to an end.

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“And the other thing is that for athletes that come next understand that there’s a finale to it, right? And that’s OK. It’s very hard to let go of something you’ve done for half your life.

“It’s kind of becomes who you are. But there’s a difference between doing what you do versus understanding that is not who you are.… Hopefully other athletes can understand and see that,” he said.

Bryant led the Lakers to five NBA titles, earning two NBA Finals MVP, and was named an NBA All-Star 18 times. He holds the NBA record for the most seasons playing with a franchise for an entire career.

Twitter: @edmgonzalez

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eduardo.gonzalez@latimes.com


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