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NBA: Kobe’s wife shuts down comeback rumors

By Rafael Bandayrel

A couple of weeks after LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers rumors of Kobe Bryant coming out of retirement to play alongside his long-time rival have surfaced.

Speculation regarding the “Black Mamba’s” return gained more steam when fellow Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal said Bryant is “coming back.”

“Kobe coming back. You heard it here first,” O’Neal told TMZ sports during an ambush interview.

But before Lakers fans could get too excited with the possibility of a James-Bryant union next season, Kobe’s wife Vanesssa put the rumors to rest with an Instagram post:

“Kobe will not be coming out of retirement to play again. He doesn’t want to play again and frankly we really enjoy spending time together as a family without the crazy game schedule interfering with birthdays, holidays and special events,” Vanessa commented.

But instead of backing away from the issue, O’Neal doubled down on his previous take during an episode of his “The BIG Podcast with Shaq”:

“I know all the parties involved. Let’s talk about the Lakers parties. There’s already excitement with LeBron coming here. I don’t know how ticket sales are – boom, boom, boom. But if you make that announcement – ooooh – the Kobe jerseys and LeBron jerseys, side by side – a little package. It’ll explode. Right?”

“And now on Kobe’s side, ‘Kobe, we love you. We need you to lead. We need you to play 10, 15, 20 minutes a game. You play third, fourth quarter, we’ll let you do what you do, you and LeBron out there. LeBron running and kicking with you, and all you have to do is spot up and shoot jumpers 20 minutes a game.’ Kobe will think about that.”

The only person that could set the record straight is Kobe himself. And while fans have not heard from him amid the explosion the rumors, Kobe had already hinted at staying retired through his “Dear Basketball” poem that later won him an Oscar.

“My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye. And that’s OK.I’m ready to let you go.”