"Of course. Absolutely," he said. "That’s part of the excitement of the challenge, that level of uncertainty. ‘Is this it’ sort of thing, are my best days behind me sort of thing. And to have those conversations with yourself and not be intimidated by that and not be succumbing to that is part of the challenge."
It’s been a lost season for Bryant on multiple fronts. The Lakers (18-35) are on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season, the last time they finished with a losing record. It took the franchise three years to get back to the Finals.
Bryant, who signed a two-year, $48.5-million extension in November, said he was optimistic the Lakers could reverse their fortunes while he was still on their roster.
"What we have coming up this off-season with the cap space and what we have ahead of ourselves seems to be right in the Lakers’ wheelhouse in terms of turning things around pretty quickly," he said, referring to his team’s ability to add a maximum-salaried star and another midlevel player. "We have had summers like this, they have never really faltered, they have normally made really sound and excellent decisions that put us right back in contention."
Bryant said he did not envision announcing his retirement plans to trigger a season-long farewell tour.
"I don’t really want the rocking chair before the game," he said. "It would drive me crazy. But I’ll probably just pop up and just vanish."
Before he does, Bryant said he would like to participate in the three-point contest as part of All-Star weekend in 2015.
"Marco [Belinelli] won with shooting five airballs," Bryant said. "I might not win, but I won’t shoot five airballs in the three-point contest, I don’t think. But we’ll see."