Kobe Bryant said last weekend he’s afraid of life after basketball. We don’t blame him. At 18 years deep in the game, Mamba has spent as much of his life in the NBA as outside of it. So, there’s going to be an adjustment. Only the Lakers look like they’ll be bad enough that he’ll have plenty of reasons to think about his retirement over the next two seasons. We had some suggestions on what Kobe can do to occupy his time after he retires, and how we think it might turn out.
1. Coach a team
It’s another way Kobe could follow in his dad’s footsteps. Here’s why it might work: Kobe is ultra-competitive, his basketball IQ is extremely high, so you know he will be the first one at the gym and the last one to leave, and he’ll spend all his other time obsessing over the opponent’s game films.
Here’s why it probably won’t: Kobe isn’t exactly the most patient guy, especially with younger and lesser players. Remember Smush Parker’s and Ramon Sessions’ tenures with the Lakers? If Kobe doesn’t sense the killer instinct, he will bury you. That does not bode well if he’s working with a young team. But maybe with a squad of vets, and a horde of assistants to smooth over Kobe’s, uhh, delivery it miiiiiight just work.1 of 13
2. General manager
Miraculously, this clip of Kobe talking about trading Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd still exists. Kobe would definitely be the type of manager that would preach patience for a year, but by mid-season, every single player would be on the block for veteran help.
We can also see him take on a Phil Jackson-type approach, in that he would target ex-teammates and players whose competitive edge he can cosign. Kobe as general manager would totally turn into the guy on your fantasy team who’s constantly giving his team a complete makeover.2 of 13
3. Buy a soccer team
Kobe is a huge soccer fan and has long been an AC Milan supporter. Based on the new contract extension that he received and all the endorsement money he’s earned over his career, it’s probably time to put up for a minority stake in one of the major European teams like LeBron has already done and Kevin Garnett once attempted to.
4. Finally take this rap thing all the way
K.O.B.E. II, anyone? Kobe actually tried much harder to break into hip-hop even as his basketball career was taking off in Los Angeles than any of us knew. Kobe’s bested Shaq when it comes to rings (five vs. four) and though things no longer seem awkward between the two alpha dogs, you can bet Bryant would love a chance to have a rap renaissance in his 40s so he can say he was better than Shaq in that arena as well. And with Jay Z pushing 50, there’s definitely precedent for middle aged rap.4 of 13
5. Write a book
After being the main antagonist of Phil Jackson’s book “The Last Season”, you can bet Kobe is itching to tell his side of the story. Kobe has been known to take to his Facebook page to write very long posts, especially during the Olympics and after he tore his Achilles tendon last year, so having enough to write about shouldn’t be a problem. Kobe’s been nice with the pen.5 of 13
6. Take up golfing
If he really wants to emulate Jordan—and you know he does—Kobe should spend his post-basketball career taking up the game of golf, so he can nudge Charles Barkley out of the running for Jordan’s favorite golf buddy. It’s a sport that is kind to age, and you can bet if you put Kobe and Jordan on a golf course, some NSFW trash talking would ensue, and probably a couple bets they won’t want you to find out about.6 of 13
7. Barnstorm overseas
In case you didn’t know, Kobe is a rock star in China. If the NBA no longer wants him, he can easily prolong his career playing overseas. Players such as Stephon Marbury, Gilbert Arenas and Tracy McGrady have found new life there. The Chinese Basketball Association has a much shorter schedule, and Kobe has traveled there enough that it would not be a huge adjustment to him.
8. Star in a Reality Show
Hey, never count anything out. A “Dancing With The Stars”- type show is probably out of the question, but given Kobe’s penchant for experiencing different parts of the world, something like a celebrity travel show would definitely work. Or since T.I. and Tiny seem to be on the rocks, maybe a “Meet the Mambas” family series would work.8 of 13
9. Join an analysts roundtable
Kobe’s transformed himself from a rehearsed cliche-dropper to elder statesman who holds court with the media. He’s not afraid to give his opinion and most definitely not shy about calling folks out. This should translate well in a color commentary role…wouldn’t you rather hear Kobe courtside than Reggie Miller’s “Are you kidding me?” And, oh my god, get him on the “Inside The NBA” TNT broadcast so we can have all the awkward moments with Shaq!9 of 13
10. Retire but not
Here’s a scenario: after his two-year extension ends, Kobe retires. After a summer off, he’s enticed by the prospect of coming back, and ends up on an Eastern Conference team who would love to have him as a draw.
Essentially he’d be pulling a Jordan (remember that Washington Wizards stint?) and probably would be able to snatch an ownership stake in the deal. On the right team, Kobe could still put up his numbers but of course we’d all have to watch as an all-time great deluded himself into thinking that even in advanced age he could singlehandedly carry a team to a ‘chip. Oh wait….10 of 13
11. Team up with MJ
Not on the court…high above it. We know that the two are close enough that they still do dinner and keep in touch with phone calls. It’s not out of the question that Jordan might welcome Kobe in Charlotte to run the Hornets. In a few years, if they can keep their core intact led by Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Noah Vonleh and Al Jefferson, they might be a contenders. Or at least lead the league in times “MFer” is uttered by a member of an organization.
12. Finalize the Kobe System
One of the most abstract (others would call it pointless) commercial ideas Kobe did was the Kobe System. What is success after success? Can Kobe explain this in a one hour special with Aziz Ansari and Kanye West in attendance? Or maybe he can write a motivational book that explains the system?
It all sounds like a pyramid scheme. But count me in.12 of 13
13. Become a Piano Teacher
Kobe plays the piano when he’s frustrated. Specifically, Beethoven. Who wouldn’t want their kid to learn “Chopsticks” under the direction of one of the most meticulous practicers of all time? Kobe’s also well-versed in handling tantrums, having reportedly once told Pau Gasol to ‘put your big boy pants on.’13 of 13