*The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Kobe Bryant to a two-year contract extension, effectively ensuring the he finishes his career with the team.
The announcement was made today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released, but a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne that the deal is worth $48.5 million.
“To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment,” said Kupchak. “Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”
Bryant, a five-time NBA Champion, has earned numerous accolades over the span of his 17-year career, including being selected as the NBA MVP in 2007-08 and winning the NBA Finals MVP award in 2008-09 and 2009-10. The 15-time NBA All-Star has also led the United States to gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. Bryant has earned All-NBA honors in each of the last 15 seasons and has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team 12 times.
The Lakers have appeared in postseason play in all but one season (2004-05) of Bryant’s 17 campaigns with the team, and have reached the NBA Finals seven times, winning championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. 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 point 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 Lakers all-time leading scorer and currently ranks 4th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.