Just like the rest of the season, so many questions surround the Los Angeles Lakers. Some questions are beginning to be answered, such as whether or not Dwight Howard will make Los Angeles his permanent home. Other questions quickly take the place of the answered though; what is next for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers?
Kobe Bryant is 34 years old and has played what amounts to 20 seasons of professional basketball (after adding up games such as the playoffs). He has spoken of retiring after next season. The Mamba is driven by a sixth Championship ring, which would set him equal to Michael Jordan. The man has a determination unlike many other people. Sometimes I am not even quite sure he is human.
As if this season hasn’t been tough enough on Kobe’s journey for a sixth, he tore his achilles tendon on Friday night against the Golden State Warriors. Now what? It is one thing to tear your achilles but it’s another to do it at the age of 34 in the NBA. Automatically, people are already looking for a timeline. According to Will Carrol, the lead sports injuries writer for Bleacher Report:
“A ruptured Achilles could take up to a year to heal”
Kobe was rightfully upset after the game and he took to Facebook to share his frustrations stating things like:
“This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage.”
I for one, do not want to see this legend leave the sport this way. I wasn’t sure where he was going when I first started reading his rant. I thought “this isn’t the Mamba mentality”. If anyone can do it, it’s Kobe Bryant. I kept reading and slowly discovered the Mamba mentality that I love:
“One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day. If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear.”
That is one of the best quotes I have heard and it fits Kobe perfectly. A lot of people are blaming this injury on Mike D’Antoni playing Kobe so much down the end of the season stretch. That is not on D’Antoni. Do you really think the Mamba didn’t want to be out there striving to earn that sixth ring? It was likely Bryant’s choice to play close to every minute, if not every minute of these last few games.
Kobe will be back. We have seen him do some crazy treatment on his ankle in years past. Perhaps he will pull some of the same “Euro Trips” to get special treatment. As this could take six to nine months to heal, he could possibly miss time next season. I am hoping this persuades him to come back for a year or two extra. Or maybe he can take some tips from Metta World Peace, who came back from a knee surgery just 12 days later.
For now, LA is Dwight’s team. He proved that when he powered them passed the San Antonio Spurs the other night. The Lakers are still hopeful for the playoffs, as winning out earns them the final spot in the Western Conference.
I can’t wait to see you back next year Kobe.