At 36, Kobe Bryant is no longer one of the quickest or most athletic players in the NBA. The 18-year veteran simply can’t do what he used to do on the basketball floor resulting in the five-time NBA champion needing to evolve heading into potentially the last two years of his career.
As it does to every player in the league at some point, Father Time has started to take its toll on the face of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise and Kobe isn’t denying that fact. The superstar appears to be embracing the challenge of altering his game, but emphasized that speed isn’t the most important thing in basketball during the Nike RISE campaign in China:
“I do the moves over and over,” Bryant said. “Especially in my younger days, I didn’t really focus on trying to get my feet faster. I focused on the moves. Whether it was a fadeaway, or whether it was a crossover, I did the move over and over and over. Then, I got faster at doing moves. My feet got faster at doing the moves. When you have repetition with what it is you’re trying to do, you inevitably get better and faster at that. The most important thing in basketball isn’t speed anyway. It’s not speed. It’s skill.”
After consecutive season-ending injuries, there’s no telling what kind of player Kobe will be entering his 19th season in the league. Although Kobe seems confident that he’ll return to form as an elite NBA player, while admitting he’ll have to change things up, the odds are against him to continue playing at a high level next season.
Heading into the 2014-15 NBA season, the consensus seems to be that the Lakers will be one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. Only time will tell if Los Angeles can truly contend in the West, but the odds are definitely not in the team’s favor with the start of the season right around the corner.
Kobe Bryant On Championships: “That Doesn’t Drive Me”