Speaking with Damon Jones in the Nike Basketball Athlete Lounge during All-Star weekend, Kobe Bryant was pointedly asked how much longer he had left in the NBA, to which he replied: "Probably two years max. Two years max. Next year might be it. It's one of those things I think I'll wake up and I'll know. And if it's it for me, then that's it and there's no looking back." Don't say the Black Mamba didn't warn you. Kobe has never been one to evade questions pertaining to his inevitable retirement. His answers to such questions, however, have been anything but consistent. He has entertained the notion of retiring as early as after next season in the past, but he's also proposed that he may play until he's 40, which would give him another five seasons. However, this particular assessment could be the most accurate of them all. More than halfway through the current season, Bryant is aware of the uphill battle he and the Los Angeles Lakers face moving forward. Such a daunting task is unlikely to rattle Bryant, but it may provide both him and his body with some definitive perspective. Remember, we often forget that he is 34 years old. His 26.8 points and 38-plus minutes per game have created the illusion that he actually is ageless, or even invincible. But he's not. Nearly two decades' worth of wear and tear on his body has undoubtedly taken its toll, regardless of whether he's let it show or not. "More championships," Bryant said when asked what's left. "That's why we play. That's what I believe to be my existence until I decide to stop playing basketball—just try to win as many championships as possible." If we are to believe the latest, Kobe's current "existence" is two years (at most) away from ceasing to be.