Sports / Basketball

Q&A: Kobe Bryant talks retirement, playoffs and life after basketball

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-08-05 10:16

Q: After growing up in Italy and spending time in China, could you see yourself ending your career playing at either place?

Kobe: "I can see myself doing that. I can see myself doing a lot of stuff. That's a whole other question. I will make some decisions when I decide to hang it up."

Q: Will there be a minute restriction for you during games next season?

Kobe: "Maybe. I don't know. It will be a game-by-game basis. I'm comfortable with whatever, flexible with whatever. We will make that decision game-to-game. We'll listen to the training staff. I've been really good about listening to my body."

Q: What are your two daughters saying about you continuing to play now?

Kobe: "They want me home more. I love being around them. But they understand the sadness about it, too. They understand that you've been playing this since you were a kid and it could all be over. It's like, ‘Whoa, that's crazy.' To them, they know me as ‘Dad.' They see me workout. They see me train. They see the effort I put in. But I'm always Dad to them. If I try to show them how to make a move, they are like, ‘Dad, seriously?' [Like] I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm just Dad. It's awesome."

Q: Alibaba Group, a Chinese company, will release your documentary, "Kobe Bryant's Muse," on Saturday. Alibaba Pictures will also work with Kobe, Inc. to create a series of Kobe-branded products that will be accessed by more than 350 million people across China. What are you hoping to do with this venture?

Kobe: "I want to create compelling stories that inspire people. It's pretty straightforward. The first action is inspiration and then from the inspiration you create services and products that enable people to reach what they are passionate about. It's about passion. But the root of what it's about is an idea, a journey. That's what we are about at Kobe, Inc."

Q: What will your first project with Alibaba be?

Kobe: "Well, the Muse film was the first product. We are in China right now and we just had a private screening with select film students, athletes and other influentials. We have a partnership with Sina, where we are starting a new streaming service called the TMall Magic Box. The ‘Muse' film launches across mainland China on the 8th [of August]."

Q: What was the inspiration for you to be involved with a possibly next-level venture in China?

Kobe: "Particularly when the Achilles' injury happened [in April 2013] I was thinking, ‘My career can be over like now.' You know as a young player that you can't play basketball forever. So I was constantly thinking and reading and learning, thinking about business, so forth and so on, but never really actually letting the rubber hit the road. You're like, ‘I'll get to it. I'll get to it.' But when the Achilles' happened, I was like, ‘I need to do something.' Then you start thinking, ‘Exactly what are you going to do? Exactly what is it?'

"I didn't allow myself to fall into the trap of ‘what industry is the most lucrative?' What industry can I create the most revenue from?' And that's completely the wrong way to look at it. I took a step back and said, ‘What do you love to do? I love inspiring. I love telling stories. Let's do that.' How do you build a business off of that? I don't know, but we will figure it out. We have a focused plan, and we are off and running now."

Q: Is there anything else you think you would like to get involved in when your career is over?

Kobe: "No. No. We're very, very focused [on our current venture]. That is the hard thing. There are so many things you can do, so many different ideas. You can go a billion different ways with partners and all kinds of stuff. I believe in having a focus, having a purpose and we have that focus and now it's time to execute. This week is a big launcher of Kobe, Inc. We are in business here."


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