In the second quarter of last night's contest in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant passed Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA's scoring list, becoming the NBA's fifth-leading scorer of all time. After the game, Bryant indicated he'll be wearing a Lakers uniform for any future records he sets, telling Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles that he'll retire as a Laker (Twitter link).
"I'm not going jump ship to go chase a sixth ring," said Bryant (Twitter link). "It's going to happen here or it's not going to happen."
Although Bryant didn't commit to a specific timetable for his eventual retirement, he expressed a desire to go out on top, saying he didn't want to "hang around and average 18 or 19 points" (Twitter link). The longtime Laker is in his 16th NBA season, though he won't turn 34 until August.
As Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News writes, Kobe also weighed in on the possibility of the Lakers making a move before the trade deadline. While he declared the current squad strong enough to contend for a title, he also hinted that a trade or signing could help:
"We have to play very solid, near-perfect basketball, particularly with our second unit, which we have in the past. We're capable of contending. Our margin is just not as great as some of the other teams."