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Kobe: 'I'm a Laker for life'

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

When Kobe Bryant paid his first visit to New York City this season on Friday night, local reporters asked him about the prospect of playing for a team other than the Los Angeles Lakers - specifically in the wake of Knicks president Phil Jackson's comments on the matter in September.

"I've said it so many times ... I'm a Laker for life," Bryant told reporters after the Lakers earned their first victory this season over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. "I'm not playing anywhere else, no matter what. It's just not going to happen. I bleed purple and gold, and that's just how it's going to be."

The mystery of what Bryant will do next summer figures to intensify as the season progresses. Expected by many to call it a career after 20 years as a Laker, many more wouldn't be surprised to see Kobe continue playing. Yet given his unrestricted free agency and a long-held belief that the Lakers organization is more than ready to part ways with the five-time NBA champion, the situation has the potential to become awkward quickly.

Bryant is - by his own admission - playing terribly so far this year as he attempts to last more than 35 games for the first time since 2012-13. On Friday he had his best game since last week's season opener, scoring 18 points. Still, he shot only 31 percent from the field and 1-of-4 from deep.

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