Is This Kobe's Last Season?

"He has indicated to me that this is it," GM for the Lakers Mitch Kupchak said in an interview earlier this year on SiriusXM NBA Radio, according to ESPN.

 Next season will be Bryant's 20th with the Lakers. He is entering the final year of his contract, which will pay him $25 million in 2015-16.  The question now is will this year be his last, or last with the Los Angeles Lakers? For me, it would be weird to see The Black Mamba in anything other than Purple and Gold but you can never count anything out with Kobe Bryant.

If this is the beginning of the end, Kobe Bryant is healthy and ready.

Bryant's recovery from his latest devastating late-career injury, a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, is complete—and he currently has no physical limitations as he gears up for what he expects will be his final NBA season. Bryant has been medically cleared for all basketball activities, according to league sources.  But how much can Kobe contribute at age 37? His past three seasons have all ended early because of injuries, including last season when a torn rotator cuff shelved him in January.

Three weeks ago, Bryant posted an Instagram photo of his smiling face—with the caption "Bout damn time!!"—upon being medically cleared to get back on the court and begin shooting. 

Since then, Bryant has continued to progress and now has no physical restrictions whatsoever. He has always prided himself on beating the medical comeback timetables, and now he's all the way back ahead of this projected nine-month layoff, too.

He should be fully healthy for his 20th Los Angeles Lakers training camp, the first practice set for Sept. 29. Now that the stage is set for the return of the Black Mamba will we see the Kobe that we all have grown accustomed too that made him a legend or will it be a long, drawn out, injury-plagued last year of this superstar’s career? It’s only one way to find out, SHOWTIME!

Written By: Jay Coleman