Even the brightest stars can fall. Evident by what went down at the Staples Center Friday evening.
In a pivotal game against Golden State, Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant saw his season come to an abrupt end with a torn Achilles. He underwent successful surgery on Saturday, but a long road to recovery lies ahead.
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The Black Mamba seems to think so.
Last night, Bryant took to his Facebook page to express his whirlwind of emotions. And while it's obvious he was frustrated (and for good reason), he seemed to be looking towards playing again in the future:
"This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen? Makes no sense. Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player or better at 35?! How in the world am I supposed to do that? I have no clue. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should just break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me. Then again, maybe not!
No. 24 closed with this:
"Forgive my venting, but it feels good to let it out. Because afterwards, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues and challenges in the world than a torn Achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever. One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is not that day. 'If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear.' I've always loved that quote. That's 'mamba mentality' right there. We don't quit, we don't cower, we don't run. We endure and conquer."
Kobe seems to be in the right frame of mind, and a return is probably imminent. But the question is, how will the injury affect his game in the long run? If he does come back, are his days of being a dominant player over?
Another major concern lies with the Lakers themselves. Bryant has been the backbone of the club for well over a decade. He's the face of the franchise, and the team needs him now more than ever. After an extremely turbulent season, LA currently sits in 8th place in the Western Conference and have yet to clinch a playoff spot. The loss of Kobe could very well mark the end of the Purple & Gold's postseason aspirations. The Lakers have two very difficult games ahead of them, facing 2-seed San Antonio on Sunday and 7-seed Houston on Wednesday. With Utah only a game back, it is crucial for Los Angeles to win out. But with no Mamba, is that even possible?
Kobe's teammates are also pretty shook up right now. Pau Gasol spoke to the media last night with tears in his eyes, which may give the impression that the Lakers time is up. However, it's not out of the realm of possibility that they could use the loss of Bryant as inspiration to make a run. How the team reacts to this adversity will be the deciding factor in determining if they advance to the playoffs or pack it in and call it a season.
It truly saddens me to think that we may never see Kobe Bryant play again. I've been watching him since I was 5-years-old, and whether you're a diehard Laker fan or hate them with a passion, you can't help but have the utmost respect for the man's game. Simply put, he's one of the best to ever lace up a pair of sneakers, and if we have in fact seen the last of him on the hardwood, it's going to take some getting used to.
Best wishes, Mamba.