Sitting at 21-40 on the season, the troubled Los Angeles Lakers are completely out of the playoff picture and already looking towards next season. Marred by injury and a weak roster, this team never had a chance to compete with the elite talent in the Western Conference. The Lakers may be long removed from their glory days as championships, but Kobe Bryant is not going to give up on the team he helped put on the map more than decade ago.
Bryant, while speaking this weekend at an event to promote his new Nike Kobe 9 sneaker, told Power 106 radio that he is seeking revenge on all of the doubters and critics next season. Those doubters he spoke on will most likely brush off Kobe’s comments, but that will only add fuel to the fire burning deep inside of the Mamba. Here is what Bryant told Power 106 in Los Angeles:
“This year, we all know it’s been a real tough year for us, right?” Bryant told Power 106. “So what I’d like everybody to do is to really just sit back and just absorb this year. Take it all in. Sit back and watch and listen and hear all the hate that’s being thrown at us and remember every person that’s kicking you when you’re down, because next year it ain’t gonna be this way.
“Appreciate it now. Let it sit in now, because revenge is sweet and it’s quick.”
“You’ve got to appreciate that and enjoy that and use that as fuel as motivation to basically just shut everybody the hell up,” Bryant told the radio station. “It’s that challenge, that challenge that drives us all, I think, and definitely keeps me going.”
Obviously bothered by what a lot of people have said about the Lakers and his own skills, Bryant is highly motivated to get himself and his team back on the right track. Still, no one knows if he will return this season, but his comments focusing on next year may be a sign that he may plan to sit out the remainder of the year, in hopes of being completely healthy for the start of the 2014-15 NBA season.
After harsh criticism from almost very media outlet in the nation, Bryant has a right to be frustrated. He knows the blame falls on the shoulders of his team, but he also believes that they are not as bad as everyone makes them out to be. If Kobe believes that he can lead the Lakers back to the playoffs, then I am a believer as well.
With one of the worst records in the league this year, the Lakers will land a high draft pick this offseason. I hope that they will be able to draft a player who can bring a much-needed spark to their anemic roster. Although, as long as Bryant returns, you have to believe that this team will be a lot better than they have been without him thus far.
Bryant’s comments should serve as bit of reassurance for those Lakers fans that have lost confidence in their team at this point. With a few good roster moves, this team can be back in the playoff race, but only if Bryant is healthy and motivated. Knowing that he has something to prove, I get the feeling that he is capable of leading the Lakers back to playoffs, as long as the organization seeks the necessary help for him to be able to back his words up with wins. As bad as things are now, brighter days may be closer than they appear to be for this Lakers team.