Kobe Bryant is rehabbing. Kobe Bryant is returning. Kobe Bryant is almost back. Kobe Bryant is… ranked 25th?
Say it aint so, ESPN. Oh, it is.
That’s right, feisty shooting guard and L.A. Lakers all-time leading scorer Kobe Bryant rounded out the sports network’s Top 25 NBA Player Rankings heading into the 2013-14 season.
While noting that “Bryant averaged 27.3 points per game last season, the highest scoring average by any player in NBA history who started the season at least 34 years old,” apparently ESPN’s Forecast Panel felt Kobe’s rehab will affect his game.
Not everyone is in agreement, according to the response from Kobe Bryant’s fans on Twitter. The first response:
Tf yall smoking??
— Phil™ (@_thatsphil) October 16, 2013
This was followed by various laughs, unfollows and other less kind defenses of Kobe Bryant. Of course, not everyone thought Bryant’s ranking by ESPN was ludicrous, just most people. Those that agreed brought up Kobe’s injury/surgery.
For the record, this year’s #NBArank is specifically about expected performance in the upcoming season. Kobe’s Achilles a big factor.
— Henry Abbott (@TrueHoop) October 16, 2013
The L.A. Times‘ Adam Fromal countered: “And really, the injury isn’t an excuse. If the Black Mamba is truly going to be affected by that injury, then why is he even in the top 25?”
Fromal mocked ESPN’s ranking of Bryant, saying “I’m desperately trying to contain my laughter and not let it spill over onto the page.”
If Kobe Bryant’s rebound from Achilles tendon surgery is anywhere near as strong as Bryant’s backers, he should have no problem putting that rank to shame.
What do you think of ESPN ranking Kobe Bryant at 25? Should Kobe Bryant have been ranked higher? How will Kobe Bryant rebound from surgery?
— The NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 16, 2013