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Pregame Topic for Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers: Retirement

The Chicago Bulls will try to do something tonight they haven't done in a long, long time: Beat the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls haven't done so since Dec. 19, 2006 -- seven losses ago. Naturally, there's been plenty of talk of game strategy and whether the youthful athleticism of 22-year-old point guard Derrick Rose can finally overcome the less youthful shooting prowess of 32-year-old guard Kobe Bryant. But, strangely enough, there's been talk of something else as well: Retirement.

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First, earlier today, a reporter dared to ask Kobe whether the brief exchange he and Derrick had after the Lakers 98-91 win over the Bulls in L.A. on Nov. 23, was a "passing of the torch moment." As if Bryant, who currently ranks second in the NBA in points per game (26.6) and total points (585), is mulling hanging up his jersey and looking for someone to inherit the hype and celebrity he commands. Kobe's response is one for the ages:

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I ain't passing [expletive].
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Apparently next, the gaggle of reporters ambled over to Lakers head coach Phil Jackson and inquired about his propensity to pull the ripcord and unleash his golden parachute. He seems a little closer to the brink, saying:

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I really don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but yes, I anticipate this will be the last time I coach in [the United Center].
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So mark that a "probably not" for Kobe and a "definitely maybe" for the Zen Master. Something tells me if the current Bulls core can't break the team's losing streak against the Lakers tonight, if they just wait long enough, they'll simply outlast La-La Land's celebrity guard and coach.

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Tipoff this evening is at 7 p.m. Central. Check our StoryStream for a preview.