(With research assistance provided by STATS)
Kobe Bryant has announced that this season, his 20th with the Los Angeles Lakers, will be his last. Bryant is the first NBA player to spend that many years with one franchise, though it's not completely uncommon across the other pro sports in the United States.
Here, a list of those who spent the most seasons with the same team in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League:
23 — Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox
Yaz had 1,822 hits for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. That's 11 more than Wade Boggs and Nomar Garciaparra, combined.
23 — Brooks Robinson, Orioles
Was third-youngest player in the AL to start his career, was the second-oldest player in the AL when his career ended.
22 — Al Kaline, Tigers
There's nine players in baseball history with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. Kaline was one HR short of being the 10th.
22 — Stan Musial, Cardinals
Was with the Cardinals 23 years, essentially; Musial missed the 1945 season after enlisting in the United States Navy.
22 — Mel Ott, N.Y. Giants
Despite relatively small stature at 5-foot-9 and about 170 pounds, he led the Giants in homers for 18 straight seasons.
22 — Ty Cobb, Tigers
Highest average in MLB history, was four votes away from being a unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
22 — Cap Anson, White Stockings/Colts
He was a White Stocking, and then a Colt, and left before his franchise became the Orphans. It's now called the Cubs.
20 — Kobe Bryant, Lakers*
A 17-time All-Star (and counting), a five-time champion, a two-time gold medalist and the No. 3 scorer in NBA history.
19 — Tim Duncan, Spurs*
It would be perhaps surprising if he didn't join the 20-season club next year, since there's no signs his game is slowing.
19 — John Stockton, Jazz
Durable until the end, starting all 82 games in the season he turned 40, he's the NBA's career leader in assists and steals.
18 — Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks*
A game changer by being a sharpshooting big man, Nowitzki is expected to play a 19th season in Dallas before his career ends.
18 — Reggie Miller, Pacers
Never averaged less than 10 points a game, never shot less than 80 percent from the line, and was a 3-point trendsetter.
18 — Karl Malone, Jazz
Finished his career with the Lakers in a (futile) hope to win that elusive title, but Malone will always be synonymous with Utah.
* — denotes active streak
21 — Jason Hanson, Lions
When he was on the field, it was points for Detroit: He tried 1,274 field goals and PATs in his career, making 1,160 of them.
20 — Darrell Green, Redskins
Played in 295 games, the most of any defensive player in NFL history. Intercepted 54 passes over three different decades.
20 — Jackie Slater, Rams
A college teammate of Walter Payton's, it took him three seasons to become a starter for the Rams. He never lost the job.
19 — Bruce Matthews, Oilers/Titans
Part of the family that has a football legacy like few others, he went to the Pro Bowl 14 times and played guard, center and tackle.
19 — Jim Marshall, Vikings
Yes, he ran the wrong way for a touchdown. Other than that, he should be better-known for making 282 consecutive appearances.
25 — Gordie Howe, Red Wings
"Mr. Hockey" played in Detroit in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. (And technically the 1990s, if you count the Detroit Vipers.)
24 — Alex Delvecchio, Red Wings
He played for the Wings, coached the Wings and was a general manager for the Wings — with a statue and three Cups to his credit.
22 — Steve Yzerman, Red Wings
Now the general manager in Tampa Bay, he spent his entire career in Detroit. Won Cups, gold medals and a trip to the Hall of Fame.
22 — Stan Mikita, Blackhawks
Born in Czechoslovakia, raised in Canada, Mikita is forever linked to Chicago. Won Hart, Art Ross, and Lady Byng in same season twice.
21 — Martin Brodeur, Devils
The NHL's all-time leader in goaltender games, wins, saves and shutouts, and a three-time Stanley Cup champion from his Jersey years.
21 — Ray Bourque, Bruins
Won his only title as a member of the Avalanche (Joe Sakic letting him hoist the Cup was unforgettable), but he's still Boston royalty.
21 — John Bucyk, Bruins
He arrived in Boston in 1957 and never left, playing for the Bruins through the late 1970s and working for the franchise ever since.
21 — George Armstrong, Maple Leafs
His numbers aren't eye popping, but his leadership is still revered in Toronto even now. A four-time champion with the Maple Leafs.
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