As difficult it was to watch Kobe Bryant try to play through the pain of what would later be diagnosed as a probable torn achilles on Friday night, watching his emotional post-game conference with the media was heartbreaking. Love him or hate him, you have to respect the will, determination and drive of Kobe Bryant.
Bryant was having a phenomenal year despite the Lakers’ ups and downs. What made Kobe’s performance this season even more dumbfounding was that it is his 17th year in the pros, and he has a mind-numbing amount of miles on that 34 year old body. The Lakers are fighting to remain in playoff position, and with Kobe Bryant at the helm, it’s hard not to count out the improbable.
Bryant’s season-ending injury left all of Lakers Nation and his teammates with a feeling that they have been punch to the gut and left on the ground. Bryant’s presence in the lineup represents so much more than impossible shots and plays that bring the fans to their feet. He represents leadership, hope and experience. For so long, Kobe is the Lakers.
After the win on Friday against the Warriors, which didn’t feel like a win, Pau Gasol gave his thoughts on Kobe and his injury to the media. Per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA:
“It’s just a tough hit, tough blow for everyone and for the ones who love him and have a great respect for him, even more,” Gasol said with tears in his eyes. “So it’s a difficult time. I feel for him.”
“It’s hard for me to see him like that. He doesn’t deserve it. … I hate that it happened to him. He works so hard. He’s the most dedicated guy that I ever met, and he had the courage and the strength to talk to (the media). I don’t know if I could have done it. So, again that’s very remarkable.”
Dwight Howard, who has battled his fair share of serious injuries in the past year, was very somber when speaking to the media. His relationship and chemistry on the court with Kobe Bryant had just started to truly blossom over the past several games. Howard said:
“It’s just sad for Kobe. We’ve been faced with injuries all years. When somebody gets healthy, somebody else goes down. It’s tough,” said Howard. “I could just see it in his face. When you injure yourself to the point where you can’t play, it hurts. It’s a deep hurt.”
Kobe Bryant vented on Twitter and Facebook his frustration with his injury as he prepares for surgery to repair the torn achilles tendon, which will happen after MRIs (scheduled for today). However, he did add how he will be using this challenge as fuel in his recovery.
If we have learned anything from watching Kobe over the last seventeen years, it is that challenges do not stand a chance against Kobe Bean Bryant. He will now turn into “Coach Kobe” as he recovers from his inevitable surgery, and is determined to prepare his teammates for their fight moving forward.
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant Out With Probable Torn Achilles Tendon
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