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Kobe Bryant hoping for Spurs-like ‘rebirth’

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers share a laugh while playing on November 13, 2012 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant said he plans to play next season.

He wants to go out on his own terms.

And he has an inspiration.

Kobe:

I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. These guys are still winning. So, to answer the question, I can’t say this is the end of my era because I thought their era was done, and they’re still there. So I’m hoping I can have the same rebirth.

If he wants to follow Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker on their aging curves, Kobe needs two major things:

1. A front office that surrounds him with young talent. The Lakers have no Kawhi Leonard, no Danny Green, no Cory Joseph. With a high draft pick, cap space and chance to get Julius Randle healthy, maybe they can improve the roster this summer.

2. A coach committed to resting him, not one who plays him as much as possible.

Even if Kobe gets both – and that’s unlikely – it might be too late. Players his age who can’t stay on the court rarely get back on track.

San Antonio’s stars, especially Duncan, have been fortunate to remain healthy. But once a player’s body begins to break down, it’s tough to reverse that course.

Kobe can come back next season, but a “rebirth” is overly optimistic.