In the past few years, Kobe Bryant has gone from the NBA's star player to the league's elder statesman. That responsibility comes with sometimes having to school the rookies entering the league about on- and off-court decorum.
One such lesson, as we all know, was directed at incoming draft pick Larry Nance Jr., who found himself in some hot water on Thursday when the intrepid sleuths of the Internet went through his old tweets and found a derogatory one about Bryant. "Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver this time," Nance wrote in 2012, with the hashtag "#rapist."
During his Genius Talk at the BET Experience on Saturday (June 27), Bryant addressed the scandal, telling ESPN's Jemele Hill that Nance probably doesn't need a lecture from him about teammate etiquette, given the grilling he's already got from general manager Mitch Kupchak and the blogosphere at large. "He learned," Bryant joked. "The kid figured it out himself."
Bryant did recount the way Nance apologized to him — and inadvertently addressed those retirement rumors in the process. When Nance reached out to say sorry, Bryant said, "This is how you know it's time to hang these things up...when your teammate writes to you, 'Hi Mr. Bryant.' I was like, 'What the f...?!"
Jokes aside, a multitude of injuries have kept Bryant off the court for the past year and have fueled rumors that he may be ready to call it a wrap on his NBA career. Bryant tells us, "[It] might be. You gotta retire sometime. I'm not Benjamin Button, man."
He continues, "At the end of the season, if I feel like doing it again, I will. If I don't, I won't. [But] I won't make a big deal about it."
Watch a clip from our Genius Talk with Kobe Bryant, in the BET X 2015 video Xclusive below.
See The Best of Genius Talks, airing on BET Friday, July 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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(Photo: Jason Kempin/BET/Getty Images for BET)