Kobe Bryant is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, admitting he’s old in basketball terms. He knows he put some hard miles on that body.
He also knows he’s coming off the kinds of injuries that can dramatically slow if not end a career — a ruptured Achilles two seasons ago, then a knee injury last year.
But his game has evolved over the years, from the explosive young Kobe of the Shaq era who could pretty much get to the rim and dunk at will, to the guy with the fantastic post moves and studied game of the last few years.
Now he says its time to evolve again in the article written by Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated.
“So when I hear pundits and people talk, saying, ‘Well, he won’t be what he was.’ Know what? You’re right. I won’t be. But just because something evolves, it doesn’t make it any less better than it was before,” Bryant said.
Vintage Bryant. Use the doubters and naysayers to fuel you. Back when he didn’t have many doubters he’d create straw men to get angry about as fuel (Jordan did the same thing).
But now Kobe has plenty of doubters. Ones who question how good he can be. Ones who question how good the Lakers can be (I’m in this group). Ones writing off him and his team.
If he proves us wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time.
First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.
Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.
The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.
Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”
“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”
The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.
It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.
I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.
Somebody is in midseason form.
Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.
Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.