Coming into his 20th season with the Los Angeles Lakers, no one knew quite what to expect from Kobe Bryant this season. Considering his time in the league, as well as his recent injury history, many questioned whether Kobe could regain his previous form.
So far this year, Kobe has struggled, especially with his efficiency leading many to speculate that Kobe would be best off retiring at the end of the season.
Kobe spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports about the standards that fans have of him:
I get held to much higher standards than most of my peers,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports on his walk out of the Barclays Center. “If I have a bad shooting night, it’s, ‘He’s in the grave. He’s in the coffin.’ Look around the league, and other players have bad shooting nights – and it’s just a bad shooting night.”
Despite the constant criticism, however, Kobe told Wojnarowski that he appreciates everything as those expectations are what pushes him:
But the expectations that they have for me, they’re actually something that I appreciate. Achilles injury. Fractured knee. Torn shoulder. Twentieth year in the league. Thirty-seven years old. All that, and the expectations are that I average 30 points […] But I appreciate those standards, because it’s something that still pushes me, still drives me.”
No one is sure if this will indeed be Bryant’s final season in the NBA, but most are treating it as such. Kobe himself has never said that it will be his last season, though he has made it clear that he won’t play for any other franchise than the Lakers.
Despite the disappointing start to the season for both Kobe and the Lakers, his numbers are still solid. He is currently averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and a team-leading 2.6 assists.