Kamenetzky Brothers's post on LA Lakers | Latest updates on Sulia
Kobe Bryant, on whether he's learned from the struggles of Michael Jordan post-retirement:
"Yeah. You try to. You definitely try to. He has the gift and the curse of having gone first. I have the gift and the curse of having gone second. I get a chance to watch and learn from things that he's done. The good and the bad."
My question was prompted by the host of "M.J. at 50" stories published during All-Star weekend (the best coming from Wright Thompson of ESPN.com). I was wondering if he'd read any.
The rest of the exchange, with questions from me and other media members...
How well do you think you're going to be able to channel the competitiveness?
"The key is to find something you can sink you teeth into, and obsess about. That's really at the crux of it. We both have obsessive personalities."
MJ said managing his own ego has been a challenge.
"That probably plays a part. That's coming from him, so I obviously haven't dealt with the retirement part of it yet. I'm going to try to find something I can put my ego into, I guess."
You've learned things about how to handle the end of your career as well, right?
"I think finding an area before you retire that you want to do, that you want to be passionate about. I think that's really the biggest challenge for every athlete, is to find something that you really want to do. A lot of us wait until the last year, until you retire, and try to figure that out. Then it takes five or whatever years. Some people never figure it out. I've tried to begin that process."
Is that why you talk so openly about it?
"No, you guys ask me… I'm frank about telling you."
Have you found that thing to be passionate about? Is it doing the work with the homeless (though his foundation)?
"I mean, besides that. Besides doing things that are humanitarian efforts. You have to have a job. You're retired, I'll be 35, 36 years old. I'm not just going to sit and do nothing."
You don't have to work, though. You have plenty of money.
"F*** that. I need to do something. I need to find something I can obsess about. I know what I'm going to do."
(He wouldn't say what, specifically, so we -- in jest -- started speculating.)
Try out for the White Sox?
Join Shaq on TNT?
Buy the Bobcats?
I'll have more thoughts on Kobe's post-playing days, but the exchange had a bunch of interesting moments. Overall, I think he'll enter retirement better prepped than MJ.