5 Options for Kobe Bryant’s 2014 New Year’s Resolution

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5 Options For Kobe Bryant’s 2014 New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year's, Kobe!
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

This 2013 year was an interesting one for Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers saw a significant drop off in performance, and they have seen several players come and go. Bryant suffered the first major injury of his career and was sidelined for a significant amount of time. In the meantime, he drove off the players Los Angeles brought in to carry the Lakers into the next era.

To say 2014 is a year of opportunity for Bryant and the Lakers would be an understatement. However, having opportunities does not mean they will be met, and the Lakers have a tall mountain to climb to be relevant in this season’s Western Conference, especially since Bryant will not be out for at least the next six weeks with his fractured tibia. At this point, it is looking more likely that the Lakers will be picking in the lottery in the next NBA draft.

He is getting old, and the Lakers have some serious thinking to do about their future. Even though it is unclear what he can still do on the hardwood, Los Angeles decided to lock Kobe up with another huge contract extension. Those astronomical TV ratings, advertising revenues and tickets sales come at a price after all.

Bryant has some thinking to do as well. If he cannot compete at the high level he is used to, when should he call it quits? How long can he continue to cash behemoth checks without crippling his beloved Lakers’ payroll? Will he be able to coexist with the superstar of the next Los Angeles Lakers era?

2014 begins a pivotal period in Kobe Bryant’s career. With that in mind, here are five options for Kobe’s resolution in the new year.

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I Will Not Clash With Next Lakers Superstar

Kobe Bryant
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant is undeniably the face of the Lakers’ franchise, but that won’t always be the case. In fact, that time is nearing its end.

The Lakers thought they had their next torchbearer in Dwight Howard until Bryant drove him off. Howard barely had time to break in his new digs before Bryant began making his life unbearable. So unbearable that they eventually had a secret meeting and completely blew up at each other, all but making sure Dwight would be ready to take a bow and find his next home.

It is not as though this is the first time it has happened either. Remember the long feud between Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal? We obviously know how that one ended.

What’s that old saying, though? The third time is the charm. For the Lakers sake, it better be.

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I Will Not Force My Hand This Year

Kobe Bryant
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Gone are the days when Kobe Bryant can single-handedly pull himself out of a poor situation. His age is beginning to catch up with him, everyone knows it, and he better know his time is coming to an end. Choosing the wrong words and images to leave NBA fans with in his final days could put a bit of a dent in his overall legacy. He is perceived as the fiercest of competitors now, but if he continues being so arrogant as his play declines, it could rub fans the wrong way.

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I Will Not Sign Another Crippling Extension

Kobe Bryant
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant recently signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension with the Lakers this offseason. That is quite a hefty heap of money to throw at any player, let alone a 35-year-old coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon. In all reality, it is worth it for the Lakers, though -- or so it seemed before another devastating injury.

For the better half of the past two decades, you could buy a Lakers ticket and know you were paying to see one of the top five players in the world. That is a feat in itself, however, once his age finally catches up with him, he will need to realize when to give the home town a break. He can’t sign another huge extension and expect to help the Lakers succeed in the next decade -- especially if he is going to be an expensive, injury-prone piece to the team.

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I Will Return from Knee Injury with Caution

Kobe Bryant
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant’s age is beginning to catch up with him. We have seen several stars have a rough time accepting when their body begins to betray them. It is rarely an easy fall from grace and judging from Kobe’s competitive nature, his may not be either. For our own sake, though, we have to hope Bryant realizes when to call it a career. His career is full of accolades, and it would be a shame to watch him meddle among the league’s mediocre on most nights.

Another injury that will keep him out for six weeks shows his body is beginning to break down. Kobe and the Lakers need to proceed with caution and make sure they are getting the best returns they can, even if that means slowing down the Mamba when his health calls for it.

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I Will Evolve My Game This Year

Kobe Bryant
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Like all of the greats before him, Kobe has evolved his game as he has gotten older in order to put less impact on his body. Last season, Mike D’Antoni ran him a little too hard and the organization paid the price. This season, he appears to be hitting a wall again after sustaining a knee injury that will keep him out for six weeks.

If he wants to continue being the force he has come to be known, he will have to realize his limitations. It is unfortunate to have to say this about any superstar, but the fact is time always wins the argument in the long run.

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