Kobe Bryant out for the year; What does this mean for the Lakers and his career?

WELP.

Last night, Kobe Bryant made a move he’s been making since he was 15 years old probably. Just a simple drive attempting to get in the lane, and either make a play for himself or another player (Who am I kidding, it was gonna shoot it), and bam. Kobe is on the ground crumbing as you sense that something is wrong. Kobe got banged up earlier in this crucial game with the Golden State Warriors. When he goes down, us Laker fans hold our breath for a second, but he pops back up, and continues to ball out. This time, I think we all knew something was wrong. I didn’t really watch the game to be honest, but according to my friends who were watching it, they told me that they knew something was wrong. Watching the replay, I cringed because even he knew.

So pretty much, after watching his post-game interview, you could tell that this injury was bad.  Bryant, who was playing extending minutes just to get the Lakers in the playoffs, a guy who’s played through every injury imaginable, is done for the season. As a Laker fan, I’m sick. Not because the Lakers were gonna get bounced in the first round anyway, or not because the Lakers played terrible to begin the season and were fighting for a 8th seed, even though they should have been a top 3-4 seed in the West, but because one of the greatest players in this generation, who laid it on the line every night, might be gone forever. I don’t think I’ve been this sick as a fan of any team since Kendall Marshall broke his wrist last year in the round of the 32 (That was bad. Real real bad. I somehow put Kendall Marshall in the same sentence of Kobe Bryant. Kendall has to be pleased if he ever saw this).

So what does this mean for the Lakers?

Bill Simmons made a great point about all of this. The Lakers are in a tough spot with Kobe.  Kobe is 34 years old. Next year is gonna be his 18th season, and he’s gonna be getting paid 30 million next year. No disrespect to Kobe Bryant, but do the Lakers want to pay Kobe Bryant 30 million to sit on the bench, and return in late February  (I’m assuming he’ll return after the All-Star break) at the worst? Simmons said that the Lakers should think about amnestying Bryant. Myself, I don’t agree with him on this. Getting rid of Kobe Bryant would be the worst thing the Lakers organization could think of.  However, I understand what he’s coming from, and if the Lakers front office decided to do this, I wouldn’t get mad, but I can’t speak for the rest of Laker Nation.  Do I think they’ll do this? Hell nah. None of the Laker fans that I speak to like Jim Buss, and instead of making his life even worse, he’ll um, he’ll keep Kobe, and pay him that 30 million dollars.

It’s evident that the Lakers have to attempt to keep Dwight Howard. If you’re not gonna have Bryant for 8-10 months, you need a new face of the franchise right? Howard should be healthy, and stronger next year with his back and shoulder injuries. He’s younger, and if you put the right pieces around Howard (As in shooters, shooters, and one more time, SHOOTERS), then Dwight Howard will be able to flourish. It’s not that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard can’t co-exist. I personally think they can, and they’ve have been able to adjust their games, but it’s one of those things where both guys need the ball to dominate games. With this career-threaten injury to Bryant, the Lakers have to turn to their younger superstar and let him be “The Guy.”

What does this mean for Kobe Bryant?

The picture above sums it up. I think for the first time in his life, Kobe Bryant feels like he’s been defeated. which is sad to me. Bryant probably knows that his career was gonna end soon. He’s been hinting that he’s thinking about retirement after his contract expires in 2014. Bryant said that he’ll know when the end is near. As a fan of his game, and a basketball fan in general, this is a major blow to the game. The reason why the Los Angeles Lakers were even in contention to make the playoffs this season was because of him. Bryant was playing 45 minutes a game (I’ll hit on this in a second), and attempting to will this team to the playoffs. It’s all on my belief that if Bryant  and the Lakers actually gave a damn in the beginning of the season, they wouldn’t be in this position where one of the biggest mega stars in the NBA (With KD and Bron) goes down with this type of injury.

Bryant is 34. Why the hell would Mike D’Antoni play him 45 minutes a game? I know Kobe is one of those guys who will play forever, but, let’s be honest here. Even if he was healthy (Clearly, he hasn’t been for a month. Bryant has been dealing with bone spurs in his foot, a sprained ankle, and stingers in both knees which makes me feel like Bryant should have shut it down, but obviously, he wasn’t going to do that for nothing), even if the Lakers got into the playoffs, they were gonna lose at least in 6 games. Why? Bryant’s body would have given out. D’Antoni shorten his rotation down to 8 guys, and it ended up potentially killing Bryant in the process. I’m not a doctor by any stretch, but a torn Achilles is tough to come back from, especially at Bryant’s age. I saw a lot of comparisons between Dominique Wilkins, who came back from this, and made a couple of All-Star teams after it. I also saw Isiah Thomas, who tore his in 1994, and retired. I was talking to Micah (http://mercs808.wordpress.com/) about this, and I told him that I really don’t want to see him go out like this.

Kobe wrote this message on Facebook early this morning.

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. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??
I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that
was. Maybe this is how my book
ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me…Then again maybe not! It’s 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I’m wide awake. Forgive my Venting but what’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.
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”. Ive always loved that quote. Thats “mamba mentality” we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.
I know it’s a long post but I’m Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge.
Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.
Mamba Out

From this, I think he’ll be back next year, but I doubt that he won’t be the same player as he once was, and I’m sick for him. Injuries happen, but you never want to see them. Not to someone that you’ve been watching since you were in elementary school. Call me crazy, but when any of this happens to guys that you grew up watching and wanted to play like at times, it hurts even more. I think for his career, I doubt he wants to go out like that. The Facebook message made it seem that he was gonna rehab all summer long, which doesn’t surprise me at all. Kobe is one of the hardest workers I’ve seen in the NBA, and he’ll be back, somehow and some way.

Kobe, stay up man, and hopefully, you come back sooner than later next year.

– Shaun

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