Kobe Bryant set to make NBA history in Lakers’ season-opener
Kobe Bryant is slated to be in the starting lineup when the Los Angeles Lakers take the Staples Center floor Wednesday night for a showdown with the Minnesota Timberwolves. And by doing so, Bryant will once again add his name to the NBA record book.
Bryant will suit up for the Lakers for his 20th NBA season Wednesday, breaking the previous record of seasons played with only one franchise, a mark previously set of by Utah Jazz legend John Stockton.
If one were to ask Bryant, odds are good he would say he couldn’t care less at this stage about achieving yet another NBA milestone. He just wants to get back on the court and compete, something he has been incapable of doing for considerable stretches over a handful of injury-plagued seasons.
“I’m just ready,” he said after practice Tuesday, via ESPN. “Just ready to get started.”
That’s been easier said than done for Bryant, even during this past training camp and preseason. He suffered a lower leg contusion on Oct. 13 that kept him out of practice for weeks and prevented him from getting a final tune-up in the team’s final three preseason games.
“I don’t really have any anxiety about it,” he said. “It’s been slowly getting better. The past couple days, I’ve been able to move a lot more with some of the things that we feel comfortable doing.”
Bryant, who noted that he’s “been training pretty hard for a long time now,” hasn’t been talking much with the media since the latest setback, but insisted his recent inactivity is not a source of concern.
“I’ve gotten injured every training camp since I’ve been in the league,” he said. “I don’t try to put too much emphasis on it.”
When asked about his expectations for the season, he made light of his advancing age, as at 37, as even Bryant recognizes he’s no spring chicken.
“I’ll be just be an old, average player,” he quipped.
Something about Bryant’s makeup suggests he won’t be willing to accept that eventuality.