NBA star Kobe Bryant opened up recently about his outlook on the new season and his overall condition.
During an interview with USA Today at Lakers camp, the 37-year-old athlete made it clear that he is not sure about how this season will play out for him. He is primarily concerned about doing the best that he can and giving his all to the game each time he steps on the court.
“I just let (the concerns) go after a while, man. You have to ask yourself, did you do everything you possibly could to prepare for the season? And I have. I’ve trained really hard to get to this point, and you have to be comfortable with that. Whatever happens is really beyond your control… Just play the game that’s right in front of you. That means a lot at this age to be able to do that.”
Kobe Bryant further explained that simply having “the physical capability to react to situations” and “the skills to react to situations” was an accomplishment in itself. However, he did make it clear that he would love to be able to play the entire season, too.
Keep in mind that this is the same man who many fans and critics compared to NBA legend Michael Jordan, anxiously waiting for him to join MJ in winning his sixth championship with the same team.
However, Bryant expressed to USA Today that the two situations are completely different now and essentially are not on the same level.
“This is uncharted territory. My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”
With the list of major injuries Kobe has suffered in recent seasons, it is not surprising that he simply wants to focus on being productive and staying healthy during the 2015-16 season.
— Chris Estafanous (@ChrisEstafanous) October 29, 2014
On April 12, 2013, Kobe Bryant ended his season early by tearing his Achilles tendon in a game against the Golden State Warriors.
His surgery to repair the tear was successful, according to CNN, but the longtime Lakers star was sidelined for several months as a result.
Even though many fans and critics feared that he would retire in the off-season after that major injury, Kobe Bryant proved them wrong. He worked hard to recover and resumed practicing with the team in November — nearly seven months after his injury.
Bryant also made history by agreeing to extend his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first player in the history of the NBA to spend 20 years on the same team, according to NBC Sports.
Sadly, he was placed back on the list of injured players after fracturing his left knee during the December 17 game against Memphis. In March 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to keep Kobe Bryant on the sideline for the rest of the season to give him more time to focus on rehabilitation.
Nearly one year later, Kobe Bryant was forced to end his season early yet again after tearing his rotator cuff while aiming for a two-handed dunk from the baseline against the New Orleans Pelicans back in January.
Kobe Bryant cleared to practice after tearing rotator cuff nine months ago. pic.twitter.com/Qd1q9THds3
— Check The Scoreboard (@checktheSB) September 17, 2015
Bryant was able to continue playing with his left hand for the rest of game, but the surgery to repair the tear sidelined him for nine months, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
Whether Kobe Bryant will decide to retire after the new season or not is yet to be seen. Regardless of what his future holds for him, his past accomplishments and overall career have undoubtedly made a lasting impact on the NBA and in the hearts of his fans around the world.
[Image Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez, Jeff Gross & Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]