Kobe Wasn’t Always So Sure He’d Get Through This Season
After a long, physically taxing season for Kobe Bryant, the final two games of the year are upon us. While many fans have been celebrating Bryant’s incredible career as it comes to a close, they’ve also been dreading having to say good bye.
For Kobe, he’s just happy to still be able to take the court.
“I should not still be doing this,” Bryant said, via The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “But I am.”
After 20 years in the association and over 57,000 minutes logged on the hardwood, the toll on Kobe’s body has been immense, especially these last few seasons as the surgeries have racked up. Bryant was worried he wouldn’t make it from start to finish, but letting go of those concerns ended up being key.
“Coming into the season, I had the concern: Could I make it all year? I had the fear,” said Kobe. “But I embraced that fear, and then I let it go. I realized: I can’t control it. I prepare. I do all the work. If that happens, it happens. And I stopped thinking about it.”
Of course, the Mamba has sat out his fair share of games to make this happen. Back-to-backs and consistent nightly minutes just weren’t in the cards.
At a certain point, once it became clear that the Lakers had no shot of competing for a playoff spot, the focus centered on getting Bryant through the season so he could be honored in front of the Purple & Gold fanatics this coming Wednesday, one last time.
If the Lakers were in the hunt for the postseason, Kobe knows his “Farewell Tour” would not have gone down in this fashion.
“The ovations wouldn’t be here,” he said. “We’d be amidst cutthroat competition. In this season, I’ve been able to come up for air, take the blinders off, look around, soak it all in – and say thank you.”
Of course, Bryant would much rather be competing for a championship, but he’s come to terms with reality.
“Had we been competing for a championship, there’s no way I’d allow all this to happen,” Bryant said. “We’d have one goal in mind and that would be winning the championship.
“In the end, this wasn’t hard to accept. I can accept reality and move on.”