What Kobe’s Achilles Tear Means for His Future
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Bryant was in no mood to answer the only question that mattered, and no one – not even a Celtics fan – could blame him.
Yet as the Lakers star stood there in the Staples Center locker room with teary eyes discussing his night of ill-fated fortune, how he heard his Achilles tendon pop late in the fourth quarter and how this was the toughest moment of his transcendent career, the question eventually came.
“So this isn’t the last game that we’ll see you play?” a reporter asked after the Lakers downed Golden State to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“Really? Really?” he shot back before making light of the moment.
Yes, Kobe, this is really happening.
Bryant will undergo an MRI on Saturday to, as the Lakers put it in the team release, “confirm the diagnosis” before later having surgery. The timing, make no mistake, couldn’t be more torturous for the 34-year-old who had hinted so many times that next season would likely be his last. As one could predict when it comes to Bryant, he hardly sounded like someone who was entertaining the notion that this could be the end.
“(I was) upset and dejected and thinking about this mountain, man, to overcome,” he told reporters. “I mean this is a long process. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Then your kids walk in, and you’re like, ‘You know, I’ve got to set an example. Daddy’s going to be fine. I’m going to do it.’
“I can hear (the doubters) already, and it’s pissing me off right now thinking about it.”
Beyond the fact that the Lakers will now attempt to sneak into the playoffs without him, there’s the reality that – based on a brutal body of evidence from NBA players in the past – he may not return until midway through the season that was his supposed swan song. As Miami’s LeBron James tweeted late Friday night, “If there’s anybody…who can come back from that injury it would be him!”
But given the fact that Bryant is as diligent a worker and quick a healer as there is in the professional