But some things throughout his career have made headlines, including the sex scandal, his feud with Shaq, and his rocky relationship with the mother of his children.
In an exclusive interview for an upcoming episode of In Depth, the Olympian and NBA legend opened up about his future plans in the game, saying he’s looking to retire soon.
“I’ve been playing for 17 years now, so next year will be my 17th and then, when I’m 35, it will be my 18th year in the league. I mean that’s a long time to be playing. It will be the last year in my contract, so I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll play any longer than that.”
Following the sexual assault charges in 2003 that blew his character way up, he admitted it was a difficult time to get through and get over.
“There’s times where it just seems like days are just endless, like this is never going to end. This feeling, this dark time is just never going to be over…” he said.
But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
“Once you go through something like that, you can’t help but be different. You can’t help but have a better sense of who you are.”
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And while the Lakers won three consecutive championships between 2000 and 2002 and made the finals in 2004, stars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were feuding over their respective roles on the team. Bryant, who was eligible to become a free agent after the season, says that it was an untenable situation:
“It just wasn’t going to work, so no matter what happened, even if we had won that championship… me being a free agent, there was just no way.”
It came down to Kobe or Shaq:
“There’s things that I wanted to do with my career and take my career to another level, that I was just incapable of doing as long as we were playing together. ”
As far as the London Olympics are concerned, he’ s ready to take home the gold and nothing less. He explained gold is the only medal America will accept.