Lakers Sign Kobe Bryant to Contract Extension
"We are extremely pleased that we were able to reach an agreement and come to terms on the extension at this time," said Kupchak. "Kobe has been a cornerstone of the Lakers for well over a decade, helping to lead us to four NBA Championships and in the process developing into one of the greatest players in basketball history."
"Two of our main goals heading into this season were to sign Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to contract extensions," continued Kupchak. "With the signing of Pau earlier this season and the signing of Kobe today, we were able to accomplish those goals, helping to keep the core of this team intact for the foreseeable future and in turn help to ensure the franchise's continued success over the years to come."
Bryant, a four-time NBA Champion, has earned numerous accolades over the span of his 13-year career most recently being named the 2009 NBA Finals MVP. In 2008, the 12-time NBA All-Star earned the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. In that same year Bryant helped lead the United States to a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Bryant has earned All-NBA honors in each of the last 11 seasons and has been named to the NBA's All-Defensive Team nine times.
In Bryant's 13 seasons with the Lakers they have appeared in postseason play in all but one season (2004-05), and have reached the NBA Finals six times, winning championships in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2009. The 6'6" guard scored a career-high 81 points (55 in the 2nd half) on January 22, 2006, the second highest game and half totals in NBA history.
Originally acquired by the Lakers from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Vlade Divac on July 11, 1996 after being selected by the Hornets with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant is the youngest player in NBA history to score 25,000 points. Earlier this season Bryant moved past Jerry West to become the Lakers all-time leading scorer and currently ranks 12th on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
In 70 games this season, Bryant is averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 38.8 minutes.