Kobe Bryant would consider returning to the Lakers, he said Tuesday.
No, he’s not unretiring. It would be in a non-playing capacity.
“Me and the Buss family, we grew up together,” Bryant said, mentioning the Lakers’ owners. “Jeanie and Jimmy, they’ve known me since I was a kid. It would be an honor to help them make that transition and help them try to get back to the top.”
The Lakers have not had discussions with Bryant about staying with the team after his playing career. Furthermore, NBA rules prevent teams from striking a post-career deal with current-day players because it would circumvent the salary cap.
But the Lakers would of course listen if Bryant inquired about working for them.
‘I think if he came and said, ‘Jim and Jeanie, I want to do something with the organization,’ I’m pretty sure they would say, ‘OK,’” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said.
Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson went in a different direction Tuesday and said the Philadelphia 76ers should give Bryant an ownership stake, allowing him to revitalize his hometown team.
Bryant didn’t address the 76ers specifically, but said team ownership would “maybe” be in his future.
“I haven’t really had a burning desire to look into it too much, but if I do, if I feel really passionate about it, that’s something I’ll dive into if I feel like I can be a part of a franchise and help the franchise grow,” he said before the Lakers played the 76ers.
The Lakers and Bryant have never had discussions about him becoming a minority owner of the team, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Magic Johnson was allowed to purchase about 4% of the Lakers after he retired, but that was described as a one-time offer by former owner Jerry Buss.
Bryant, 37, has some decisions to make after his playing career ends next April. He already has a stake in the Players’ Tribune, a website that posts articles from athletes’ point of view.
He announced last year he would start Kobe Inc., a sports-related company that had already invested in Body Armor sports beverages. James Harden, Andrew Luck and Mike Trout are among the product’s pitchmen.
Bryant said he would eventually turn his fiery nature into “channeling something else.”
“I mean, it’s going to take a while to get used to it,” he said. “I’m so used to getting out and playing and competing at a physical level. Now that transition must be made to focus in on things that really involve intellect ... and how to make certain decisions. And I think I’ll be OK in terms of channeling it that way.”
He joked that he would find joy in his next career or “be a miserable old dude.”
Coaching might be the one thing Bryant won’t do after his playing days. He has said numerous times in the past that he can’t see himself having enough patience to make it happen.
Bresnahan reported from Philadelphia, Shaikin reported from Los Angeles.