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.
“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.