So why not cap it off by doing what you love to do and drop 68 points at a charity game in China?
That's exactly what Bryant did over the weekend in Shanghai, where he dismantled a team filled with A-listers and entertainers who were thrilled to be on the same basketball court with him.
Bryant gave a detailed account of it on his Facebook page and explained that used the game as a "test" of his stamina after his team was down double digits after the first 15-minute half.
The 68 points were self-calculated by the Black Mamba, but even though he was clearly having fun with it all, he was not going to disappoint a packed arena full of fans who came to see him play ball.
During the five-minute highlight video, Bryant is shown high-fiving teammates, playing lock-down defense, and running the floor. That's what he does -- he plays to win, and the circumstances don't matter.
Obviously the entire scenario needs to be taken lightly because of the lack of real competition. But Bryant is clearly ready to go and is excited to chase ring number six with the Lakers this fall.
He's all basketball, all the time.
Before he does embark on the journey for the sixth title, however, he has unfinished business in China off the court. He is currently there on a Nike-sponsored marketing tour. He's done that for the last seven years.
Bryant has always been an intelligent player, and he's equally smart off the court when it comes to business. He knows his playing career is close to being done and that life after basketball does exist.
He knows he's a one-man corporation, and he's setting himself up to have options once he has taken his last jump shot at Staples Center. It's not by accident he has much of the Far East in his corner.
One thing about Bryant that most NBA fans respect about him is his intensity. If there's anything of substance to take away from the meaningless scoring output in the charity game, it's that Bryant takes it seriously every time the ball goes up.
By comparison, this h appene d to LeBron James when he did his tour of Asia last summer -- just thought I'd mention it.
The Chinese adore Bryant for giving some of himself to them and for putting on a show. That's all they ask of him, and he'll reap the rewards because he's put in the time.
It won't hurt to have half the world rooting for the Lakers come playoff time.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He has written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com and is the Editor of SportsOutWest.com. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kobe Bryant
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Lakers