“I’ve said it so many times. I’m here, I’m a Laker for life,” Bryant said Friday after his team’s 104-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. “I’m not playing anywhere else, no matter what. It’s just not going to happen. I bleed purple and gold, and that’s just how it’s going to be.”
Bryant, who is in the final year of his deal with the Lakers, made his remark in response to a question about comments by Phil Jackson, his former Lakers coach and the current New York Knicks president.
In September, Jackson said he believed Bryant, 37, might play beyond this season.
“I don’t think it’s his last year,” Jackson said. “It sounds like it may be his last year as a Laker.”
Said Bryant: “That’s Phil baiting you [members of the media] like he always does. He’s a master at it.”
Bryant will face Jackson’s Knicks on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in what could be Bryant’s final game in the historic arena.
Bryant has struggled in the Lakers’ first five games this season, shooting 32.1 percent from the field while averaging 16.2 points per game. He scored 18 points on 5-of-16 shooting Friday to lead the Lakers to their first win of the season.