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Kobe Bryant Addresses Retirement Rumors on ‘Kimmel': ‘I’m Just Trying to Come Back’ (Video)

The NBA star told Jimmy Kimmel he’s ”up for the challenge“ of overcoming a torn rotator cuff

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant did not confirm rumors of retirement while appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday.

“They’re ready to put me in my grave, man,” Kobe joked. “I’m just trying to come back from this injury. I just take things a day at a time. This is a huge challenge I have in front of me right now.”

Bryant, who had surgery last month to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, isn’t expected to return to the court until September, but he sounded determined to do so during the interview with Kimmel.

“I just dealt with going through nine months of recovery with my achilles, and now I have to do it again, which is fine,” Bryant said. “I’m up for the challenge.”

When Kimmel pressed him, hypothetically, if he would keep his eventual retirement plans a secret, the 36-year-old NBA star said, “Absolutely.”

“I don’t want to play for a year where everyone knows your retiring and gives you the whole swan song,” Bryant said. “I want to play the way I’ve been playing the last 19 years. I want to have the same experiences that I’ve had.”

Watch the interview.