Since Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury, he has not laid as low as other NBA players with injuries have (a la Derrick Rose). He has become more and more active on Twitter, created an Instagram account, completed numerous interviews with the media, and even went to Brazil to enjoy the FIFA Confederation Cup match between Brazil and Italy. In the past week alone, Bryant has made many headlines with comments about the his injury, his future, and the Lakers future involving Dwight Howard.
When discussing his achilles injury, Bryant spoke about the advice he received from Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham. The two star players have built a great friendship in the time that Beckham has resided within Los Angeles.
“Becks and I have grown to be pretty close since he’s been playing in Los Angeles for [the Galaxy] the last five years,” said Bryant, reported LA Times Writer Eric Pincus. Beckham tore his Achilles in 2010, but was able to make a strong return to the pitch. “He and I talked for quite a bit about his process, and his recovery,” Kobe said. “He hasn’t had any issues with it since. He’s won several championships since the injury, so I’m pretty encouraged by that.” Bryant was injured on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors. He had surgery the following day, with a projected recovery of six to nine months.
Knowing Kobe Bryant the player, he has held onto the notion that he will be ready by opening day of the 2013-2014 NBA season. However, he may not be able to return as soon as he wishes. In order to be sure of a full-strength recovery, Bryant’s opening night may have to be in the months of November or December.
“It’s going well,” he said of his recovery. “I’m pretty much two months out of surgery, and I’m walking” he said. “I can get up on my toes. I’m pleased with how it’s going so far.” Bryant admitted to having some initial doubts about regaining his physical abilities, but now he uses that as fuel for his recovery. “You have to allow yourself to think that, because it keeps you on edge. It keeps you motivated. It keeps you strong,” he said. “I think for me, once I started hearing everybody else say, ‘Well, maybe this is it. Maybe this is too much’ — that’s what really gave me the determination to see if I can prove them wrong.” “You want to be able to go out on your own terms. You don’t want to be forced out of the game because of an injury,” he said. “You want to feel like when you’re leaving the game, you’re leaving because you want to.”
In speaking of being able to go out on your own terms, Bryant seems to have an alternative plan to the 1-2 year retirement window that he has publicly discussed. During his trip in Brazil Bryant stated that he believes he could “easily” play double the amount.
If Bryant sticks to that plan the he could potentially retire at the age of thirty-eight. With his high level of dedication, and skill set, he could make a run at a few more championships and surpass Michael Jordan in all-time scoring. Kobe currently sits at 31,617 points for his career and publicly doubts that he will attempt to break any such record. Yet his former coach, Phil Jackson thinks otherwise. ESPNLA’s Arash Markazi was there to report.
“His goal is another championship,” Jackson said. “He also has a chance to replace Michael Jordan in the all-time scoring list. Those are two goals, with the first one being a championship, that Kobe would like to accomplish.”
Finally, there is the one question that anyone with an association to a certain big man on the Lakers cannot escape. What will become of Dwight Howard and his Lakers future? Reported by LA Times Eric Pincus, Bryant spoke up about how important it is for the Lakers to retain their current version of Superman.
“Those guys are hard to find, they don’t grow on trees,” Bryant said on 710 ESPN Los Angeles. “When you have someone like that with his talent level, you have to be able to keep him and lock him in with this franchise.”
Bryant is spot on that it’s difficult, in today’s age, to find a big man who can dominate like Howard. Truthfully, when Howard is 100% healthy and focused, there are very few players in the league who can compete with him. Bryant knows this and knows how important Howard is to the Lakers future. He wants Howard to re-sign but he will not court him as much as the media says other players have.
“I’ve spoken to him maybe a couple of weeks ago, just to check in with him,” said Bryant. “I haven’t spoken to him since. I know he’s got a big decision to make and I’m sure he’ll take the visits and talk to the players on the teams he’s considering. We’ll touch base a lot more.” “It’s hard because a lot of times those two things don’t align,” he said. “With the history that this franchise has of having great centers, this would, in my opinion, be the perfect spot for him.”
It is great from a fan perspective to see Kobe become more and more noticeable in the public eye. He has been a relatively quiet person with his personal life, but with him now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel it is great that he is able to bring fans along for the his final chapter.
What do you think of Kobe’s comments? Should he be more open or stay reserved? Do you agree that Howard is vital to the Lakers future? Express yourself below!
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