Kobe Bryant just reached No. 4 in the NBA all-time scorers list, but he has a ways to go before he catches Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). Doing that is going to be really, really, really hard if he still plans on retiring after next season. His interview with NBA.com shows he still plans on calling it quits at that time. We're not talking about the implicit, maybe-he-will-maybe-he-won't type of answers either:

“We’ll talk,” Bryant said after piling up 19 points, 14 assists against one turnover and nine rebounds while playing all but 23 seconds of the 103-98 victory over the Kings at Sleep Train Arena. “I’ll talk to my family and stuff and really see if I want to continue to sacrifice as much as I’m sacrificing right now. I’m putting my body through a lot to just try to get ready to play every single night. To do what I’m doing right now, it’s not easy. I’ll tell you, it’s taken a lot of commitment.”

Is your sense that next season will be your last?

“As I sit here right now, yeah.”

Is there anything the Lakers can say that would make it more likely you played beyond next season?

“No,” Bryant told NBA.com. “It’s my decision. It’s really about what I want to do, if I want to train and be psychotic with my training. That’s what it comes down to. It’s really how I’m feeling physically.”

On one hand, we'd hate to see Kobe play at a lesser level because of his body's limitations. However, it's hard to imagine the purple and gold without the Black Mamba.

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[via NBA]