Heading into his 20th season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant enters what may very well be the final year of his future Hall of Fame career. After three consecutive season-ending injuries, there are questions if he can remain relatively healthy as he is set to turn 37 years old.
Before the start of every season, NBA.com releases the 2015-16 Rookie Survey where numerous questions are asked including who their favorite player in the league is. For the second consecutive season, Kobe finished second with 18.2 percent of the vote:
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City — 21.2 percent
2. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers — 18.2 percent
3. LeBron James, Cleveland — 15.2 percent
T-4. Stephen Curry, Golden State — 9.1 percent
Dwyane Wade, Miami — 9.1 percent
6. James Harden, Houston — 6.1 percent
It should come as no surprise as these rookies were extremely young when Kobe first entered the league in 1996. While Michael Jordan is considered the greatest of all-time to many, D’Angelo Russell shares Kobe was his Jordan growing up.
With the first preseason game not until Oct. 4 in Hawaii, there will be plenty of excitement surrounding the return of Kobe as well as Russell, who is expected to lead the Lakers into the new era. Although this may be Kobe’s final season in the extremely competitive Western Conference, he will have the opportunity to mentor the young core and prepare them for what lies ahead.[divide]