LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – Kobe Bryant won’t be coming out of retirement to play in the BIG3 next year.
A spokesperson for the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star said Tuesday that Bryant isn’t playing next season in the 3-on-3 league of former NBA players.
Speculation that Bryant would play had heated up earlier in the day when league co-founder and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz said during the league’s weekly conference call that he “did hear from a credible source yesterday that Kobe says he’s playing next year.”
But Molly Carter, chief marketing officer of Kobe Inc., says the NBA’s No. 3 career scorer has no plans to do so.
Bryant, 40, was the subject of a rant by former Indiana Pacers star and current Big 3 player Stephen Jackson during a post-game news conference.
When Jackson was asked whether the Lakers legend could handle the new league, which plays a half-court 3-on-3 style game rather than the traditional full court 5-on-5 matchup, he stood up and emphatically gave his response.
“Kobe can play in…any league right now,” told reporters Saturday. “Kobe, listen…can you please come to this league? We need you.”
Safe to say Stephen Jackson believes Kobe could handle The Big 3 pic.twitter.com/NZnshLMecX
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 19, 2018
The BIG3 wraps up its second season with the championship game on Friday in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)