Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 10/8/12

Kobe Bryant began talking about passing the Lakers on to Dwight Howard during the team’s media day last week, and now he says he plans to retire after his contract expires in two seasons.

Though he wouldn’t say his plan is definite, Bryant indicated to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger that he doesn’t see himself playing beyond 2014.

“It’s just that three more years seems like a really long time to continue to stay at a high, high level of training and preparation and health,” Bryant told Berger. “That’s a lot of years. For a guard? That’s a lot of years.”

Bryant, 34, could probably continue playing beyond the 2013-2014 season. He says he won’t because he doesn’t want to play at anything less than a high level.

“It’s not about health necessarily,” he said. “It’s about ‘Do I want to do it? Do I have that hunger to continue to prepare at a high level?’”

He also told Berger that he doesn’t plan to ever hang around as a role player, saying, “That’s not gonna happen. That’s just not me.”

Bryant’s comments come as no surprise. Being 34 doesn’t seem too old, but the man has been playing in the NBA since he was 18. He’s played 1,161 regular season games and 220 postseason games, which is almost like three extra seasons added to his career. Plus, he’s played internationally for the Olympics team. Bryant has also endured knee problems the past few years.

Kobe already has five championships and will have an excellent chance to win another one in the next two seasons. Why should a legend like him hang around when he’s pretty much proven everything he needs to?

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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