Kobe Bryant said he plans to play next season.
And he has an inspiration.
I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. These guys are still winning. So, to answer the question, I can’t say this is the end of my era because I thought their era was done, and they’re still there. So I’m hoping I can have the same rebirth.
If he wants to follow Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker on their aging curves, Kobe needs two major things:
1. A front office that surrounds him with young talent. The Lakers have no Kawhi Leonard, no Danny Green, no Cory Joseph. With a high draft pick, cap space and chance to get Julius Randle healthy, maybe they can improve the roster this summer.
2. A coach committed to resting him, not one who plays him as much as possible.
Even if Kobe gets both – and that’s unlikely – it might be too late. Players his age who can’t stay on the court rarely get back on track.
San Antonio’s stars, especially Duncan, have been fortunate to remain healthy. But once a player’s body begins to break down, it’s tough to reverse that course.
Kobe can come back next season, but a “rebirth” is overly optimistic.