By GLENN MINNIS
Kobe Bryant fears he may soon come face-to-face with an opponent even he dreads he has little chance of overcoming.
The 18-year NBA veteran and soon-to-be 36-year-old Hall of Fame-bound guard recently admitted to reporters that he's "scared" about life after basketball. "You really have to lean on muses and mentors going forward, just as I did as a kid," he added. "It's about having that next wave of things, which is scary as hell."
Having survived for just six games last season due to an assortment of lingering injuries, Bryant has to know and feel the end is near. Coming off the torn Achilles' that sidelined him much of last season, it's a mystery if Bryant will even survive the remaining two years he has on the $48 million deal he recently inked with L.A.
The man who has known no fear over his five-time championship, 16-time All-Star career, bares his soul in "Kobe Bryant's Muse," a Showtime produced documentary set to air this November.
"It's a fascinating time to be around this guy," director Gotham Chopra told ESPN.com of spending the Lakers' franchise worst 27-55, lost season of 2014 chronicling the emotions of the ultra-competitive Bryant. "There's this sort of looking forward to life after basketball. This is a guy that's asking a lot of questions."
But to this day, many of them are questions that even Bryant probably still can't answer for himself. Questions such as will he be able to be the same Kobe Bryant when he returns next season, and even if he can, how many seasons might he truly have left?
"It's my job to go out there next season and lay it all out there on the line and get us to that elite level," Bryant said of a team even he admits remains somewhat in flux.
"We're still trying to figure the roster out," he said of a team that still has yet to name a replacement for ousted coach Mike D'Antoni. "We don't know what system we're going to be operating out of. A lot of those questions remain to be answered."
For sure, these are uncertain times for Bryant on a number of different fronts, yet he plans to tackle them in the only way he seems to know how.
As for "Muse," Bryant reflected "it's about who or what has inspired me. It's more introspective."
Undoubtedly, that is the attitude Bryant will take with him to the hardwood this season as he desperately seeks to steer the only NBA franchise he has known back on course.
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