During his post-game press conference following the Game 5 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, Kobe Bryant was as defiant as ever. With fans and media members wondering if this is the end of Bryant’s reign as league’s top dog, and the end of the Lakers decade of excellence.
But Bryant isn’t buying any of that. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Kobe during his time in the NBA spotlight, it’s that he’s as stubborn as anybody else out there. While sometimes that’s not the best thing for him and his teammates, in this situation it’s encouraging.
“I’m not fading into the shadows, if that is what you’re asking. I’m not going anywhere,” Bryant told reporters in Oklahoma City, before interrupting a follow-up question to add, “We’re not going anywhere. This is not one of those things where the Bulls beat the Pistons and the Pistons disappear forever. I’m not going for that…”*
Other than the subtle jab at the Detroit Pistons, Bryant’s point is that he’s not ready to disappear quite yet. Following the team’s loss and elimination at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks last season, Bryant called it a wasted year of his life. His thoughts this season are no different.
The team will certainly make some moves in the off-season to try and better prepare itself for perhaps a final championship run in the Kobe era. Rumors of trades, free agents and other situations will come and go as the summer progresses.
But there will always be one constant. Kobe Bryant will still be there every day getting his work in. Taking his shots and practicing his game. Age will eventually catch up to him, in fact it already has, but you can rest assured that he’s going to do whatever it takes to delay the inevitable as long as possible.