While he cannot boast of consecutive games played quite like his co-captain can, Kobe Bryant is no slouch in that department. He was a game-time decision for the contest against the Magic due to the wicked ankle sprain he suffered in Saturday night’s game against Dallas. Kobe called it the worst he had ever felt and genuinely thought it might have been broken. Luckily for all concerned, it wasn’t and he stepped on the court last night just like we knew he would.
Kobe takes too much pride in playing through pain to miss unnecessary games. I would call it stubbornness as well, if not for the fact that I know he will sit when it’s truly in his best interest (like he did for five games last year). He was slow offensively in the first half and had more than one unlucky bounce, but he looked like the same old Kobe nonetheless. He moved with agility, kept pace defensively, boxed out, cut across the floor, and even took a hard charge of his own before hitting a jumper to give the Lakers their first lead of the game. It was clear that he wasn’t attacking the basket as much as normal, but that is to be expected.
ESPN the Magazine had a great NBA preview issue, with each team modeled after a Marvel comic book. The cover consisted of LeBron James as Captain America (debatable), Kevin Durant as Thor (god of thunder) and Kobe Bryant as Iron Man, which I find very apropos. The “real” Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was actually at the game last night as well! Love it.
Next: Killer Bench