I’m not exactly sure when rumors began that Kobe Bryant was considering a comeback now that LeBron James has joined his beloved Los Angeles Lakers, but it seems like it all started when a TMZ Sports cameraman asked Matt Barnes if he thought it was possible, and Barnes said, “That’d be dope.”
Then, Shaquille O’Neal dumped gasoline on the resulting fiery takes when The Big Aristotle told another TMZ Sports cameraman a few weeks later, “Kobe coming back, I heard.” Trying not to crack too wide a smile, he repeated himself, just to make sure the guy bought his joke hook, line and sinker.
A faction of Lakers fandom took the bait and spun it into an even taller fishing tale. One fan reached out to Bryant’s wife on Instagram to ask, “Is Kobe coming back or not? I know it’s lowkey up to you?”
Vanessa Bryant’s response:
“Kobe will not be coming out of retirement to play again,” she said, stating what should have been obvious all along. “He doesn’t want to play again and frankly we really enjoy spending time together as a family without the crazy game schedule interfering with birthdays, holidays and special events.”
Never mind the fact Bryant was “the single most detrimental player in the NBA” when last we saw him play out his retirement tour at age 37, Kobe said essentially the same thing as his wife just laid out on Instagram when he appeared on ESPN’s “The Jump” and told Rachel Nichols that he has a hard enough time keeping up with the youngest of his three daughters and running a production company.
Of course, the only takeaway Kobe Comeback truthers took from that interview was Bryant telling Nichols, “Now, he’s part of the family, so whatever he needs, I got him.” Rather than interpreting that as Kobe suggesting he would work out or advise LeBron, they thought, Kobe’s definitely coming back!
LaMelo Ball, the youngest brother of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, didn’t help matters by tweeting:
Hol up was this planned a long time and kobe gone come out of retirement to play wit Bron 😳 ??
— Melo (@MELOD1P) July 2, 2018
Even after Bryant’s wife felt compelled to shoot down rumors that were just misinterpretations of TMZ cameramen questions and tongue-in-cheek Shaq quotes, there’s still hope if you’re the Alex Jones of Kobe supporters. L.A. gossip website HollywoodLife.com issued this anonymously sourced report:
“LeBron is convinced Kobe could return and play again for the Lakers,” a source close to the NBA star EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife.com. “LeBron feels like despite what Kobe or his wife have said publicly, when the time comes, anything is possible.”
This should be a fun Lakers season, I guess?
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