NEW YORK — With both knees wrapped in ice and his surgically repaired right shoulder in a cooling device, Kobe Bryant thought about what hurts most the morning after a game.
His feet. His back, too, the Los Angeles Lakers star said Saturday after practice at a local college here. And there are times, Bryant added, when he asks himself, “Do I really want to do this anymore?” But in the next moment, the 37-year-old says he is back at it again.
“If you asked me today, this would be my last year. But you never know,” said Bryant, who is in the final year of his deal with the Lakers. “We’ll keep it open. Whatever happens, happens.”
All along, Bryant has remained noncommittal about his future beyond this season, his 20th with the Lakers, saying he’ll make those decisions at the end of the season.
Bryant did say Friday that he’d never play for another NBA team.
“I’m a Laker for life. I’m not playing anywhere else, no matter what,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
Bryant brought his family to New York, but he said that’s normal and not because this trip might be his last to the city as an NBA player.
“They always come to New York,” Bryant said with a laugh. “They never come see me in Oklahoma.”
Bryant did say that this is the first year his two young daughters have come to grips with the fact that this could be their father’s final season in the NBA.
“Of course, they want me around all the time, and I want to be around them all the time,” Bryant said. “It’s like, if you want to, cool, and if not, [that’s] cool, too.”
His recovery between games is now an “all-day” process, with ice, stretching, massages and more. But Bryant said he’s OK carrying that routine into future seasons beyond this one.
“Yeah I could,” Bryant said. “If I wanted to keep playing, I could figure it out. Absolutely.”
Regardless of what Bryant decides after this season, he said he won’t be a coach in the future, unlike some of his former teammates, such as New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher.
“I don’t feel like dealing with divas,” Bryant said with a grin. “They’re a pain in the ass.”