words_Brandon Richard

In a time where few professional athletes play with one team for the duration of their entire career, Kobe Bryant took one step closer to achieving that goal when he signed a three year extension to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers last Friday. The deal, valued at $83.5 million dollars, will keep Bryant in purple and gold through the 2013-2014 season.

According to a memo released by the NBA, the Lakers guard is set to make $25.24 million in 11-12, $27.84 million in 12-13 and $30.45 million in 13-14.The only other player to make $30 million dollars in a single NBA season was Michael Jordan during his last two years with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan made $30.1 million in 1997 and $33.1 million in 1998. Bryant’s deal also includes a no-trade clause.

“We got stuff that we need to do and it’s an unnecessary distraction. There was really no point. We just handled our business behind closed doors,” Bryant said when asked whether or not he considered using the opt out clause that was written into his old contract. Bryant said the new deal “pretty much” assured that he’d finish his career as a Laker.

In addition to locking in Kobe as a Laker, the Lakers front office has their core of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, and Andrew Bynum under contract until the 2012-2013, ensuring the team the ability to contend for a NBA championship for the next several years.

This deal also sets the bar high for NBA free agency this summer, where players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will be looking to sign long term contracts for big money. With Kobe’s deal hitting the $30 million dollar plateau, one has to wonder what type of money the agents for these younger superstars will be seeking for their clients.

One thing is for certain. Whether you love or hate Kobe Bryant, as a sports fan, you have to admire when a franchise and a player remain committed to each other long term. Such a move is rewarding to the sport, the team, the player, and most importantly – the fans.

Want to celebrate Kobe’s extension in style? You can find all of your Kobe Bryant gear here: Kobe Bryant Shoes And Fan Gear

photo via yahoo