Kobe Bryant hoping for career ‘rebirth,’ admits he ‘can’t say it is the end’
Kobe Bryant is at a career crossroads and arrived at it limping, dragging his seemingly broken-down body that has bore the brunt of 19 grueling NBA seasons.
In an interview set to air Monday on NBATV, the Los Angeles Lakers veteran superstar, 36, acknowledges he can see the light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to his Hall of Fame career, but insists he is unwilling — or incapable — of accepting it.
Bryant likened his aspirations to enjoy a career “rebirth” to how the San Antonio Spurs have been left for dead year after year, only to return to compete for titles when most experts counted them out because they were too old, not talented enough or simply not as good as other teams.
“I can’t say it is the end,” Bryant tells NBATV, via SI.com. “I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. Those 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.”
Bryant’s 20141-15 campaign ended in the same manner as his previous two: With season-ending injuries. After suffering a torn Achilles in the spring of 2013, Bryant went down again in his first comeback, fracturing his knee in December of the same year, ending his season after only six games.
Bryant made it through 35 games this season before he decided to shut it down once again, this time due to a torn rotator cuff, something he joked after the fact was caused by passing too much.
The Lakers star, who acknowledged he was sore when speaking to reporters shortly after his late-January shoulder surgery nevertheless said at that time he had every intention of coming back and playing in his 20th NBA season.
Bryant says the challenge that lies ahead as he embarks on another round grueling rehabilitation motivates him, even if he isn’t even sure himself he can do it once again.
“I don’t know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see,” Bryant said. “What I’m going to do is do what I always do: I’m going to break everything down to its smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it day by day. Just one day at a time.”
(photo credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)