It would be hard to make an argument that Kobe Bryant isn’t one of the toughest players in the NBA today. Bryant has built a reputation over his 19 seasons in the NBA as an elite player that will do whatever it takes to be on the basketball floor for the Los Angeles Lakers for as many games as his body can physically handle.
Few players in the league today or in the past have had Kobe’s will and determination to play through pain. Bryant has five NBA titles and an extensive list of individual achievements to show for his reluctance to back down when facing adversity.
After undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday, the battle begins for Kobe once again with the superstar facing another nine-month recovery period in order to extend his career into a 20th season. Bryant talked about facing another long rehab process and why he continues to fight through injuries in an interview with Ahmad Rashad of NBATV:
Rashad: What drives you to come back?
Kobe: “The process of it. I want to see if I can. I don’t know if I can. I didn’t know if I could come back from that [Achilles injury]. I wanted to find out. I wanted to find out. I wanted to see. What I’m going to do is what I always do, just break everything down to the smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it.”
It’ll be a difficult nine months for Bryant with the future Hall of Famer facing arguably his toughest challenge of his career. Suffering the Achilles injury in 2013 was one thing, but this time around he’ll return at the age of 37 with a Lakers squad that might not be much more talented than it is today.
Along with proving his doubters wrong, Bryant’s main motivation has been winning championships. The prospect of the Lakers accomplishing that feat next season, even if he’s able to play at a high level once again, is slim to none.
As Kobe has suggested over the last few months, GM Mitch Kupchak has been able to right the ship in the past with one or two moves that change everything for the Lakers. It may be a different times with a CBA that makes it difficult for the Los Angeles franchise to go about business as usual, but there’s always reasons for optimism considering the team’s track record.
Kobe’s full interview with Rashad will air on NBATV on Monday, Feb. 16 at 6:00 PM PST.[divide]
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