Fans of both the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA in general have desperately missed witnessing superstar Kobe Bryant display his tremendous skills on the court this season. Bryant has been the victim of two consecutive injuries, dating back to the final week or so of last season. While battling to make a playoff push, the minutes seemed to catch up with Bryant when he tore his left Achilles tendon in a pivotal game against the Golden State Warriors. What was a normal, routine move in the past turned into a fully ruptured tendon, which in turn manifested Bryant as a mortal human being for the first time in his career.
Up until that particular point, Bryant has proven himself as an all-time great in terms of sheer toughness and will to win. Injuries have not been completely foreign situations, though. He has dealt with a multitude of injuries throughout his illustrious career, including broken fingers, torn wrist ligaments, sprained ankles, and degenerative knee joints. Unfortunately, with age comes slower recovery times, and as a result, we have seen much less Bryant on the court this season.
It may seem like a distant memory, but Bryant actually did play six games this season in mid to late December. Just when he appeared to be regaining his step, a knee on knee collision with Tony Allen resulted in a fractured left tibial plateau in his knee. What was originally predicted to be a six week rehabilitation has turned into a full season project, thus forcing fans to anxiously wait in anticipation of his return once again.
Furthermore, Dan Patrick recently conducted a phone interview featuring the shooting guard, in which he was asked several questions regarding not only his, but the Lakers’ future. When Patrick asked Bryant about how he envisions himself playing next season, he answered by confidently saying, “I personally think you’re gonna see the same old Kobe that you’re used to seeing. You know the Kobe that was present there after the All-Star break you know, last season. You know, I’ve never had a year with this much time off to recover and rest and to get stronger.”
Certainly this should come as no surprise to anybody who has watched Bryant play, as he would be expected to remain confident in his abilities to perform on the court. It’s also an encouraging quote to listen to, especially since Los Angeles is in the midst of their worst season in franchise history. Having arguably the franchise’s greatest player of all-time be so sure that he will return as the assassin he once was, coming off two serious injuries, is uplifting, to say the least.
Bryant has always lived up to both his personal expectations and those expectations of fans, so why not have belief in his words now? Until he is physically and mentally unable to perform, nobody should doubt the abilities of the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant.