Outside of decimating fans overseas in China in pick-up games gone viral, trainer Gary Vitti has further validated claims that Kobe Bryant is 100% and ready for the 2014-15 season. “You’d be crazy to bet against him,” said Vitti.
Yet another spot-on analysis. In his quest for his 6th NBA title ring, Kobe Bryant has been without a doubt the best player since Michael Jordan retired, and LeBron James came into his own. Many knock Kobe due to his age, but let’s be honest, he will only be 36 upon tip-off of the new season. And, just in case anyone has forgotten, 37-year-old Manu Ginobli and 38-year-old Tim Duncan have led the Spurs to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances. Sure, both have not had to endure the near career-threatening injuries that Kobe has had in consecutive seasons, however, this is still Kobe Bryant we’re talking about here.
Whether believable to question Kobe’s durability or not, at 36 years old, a talent like Kobe simply can defy age. Bryant, however, has to channel proving the naysayers wrong on the court when it matters. Watching Kobe Bryant beat up on average joes online is cute and all, but until he does it versus NBA competition, it proves little. Even the word of a well-renowned trainer such as Gary Vitti simply will not satisfy enough to believe Kobe is 100% yet.
Injuries like the torn Achilles and knee fractures have changed and ended the careers of many NBA players and stars. Focus on Kobe’s ability to drive and cut will be heavily under microscope. With Kobe’s high command to play 38-40 minutes, one will wonder if Kobe Bryant will take it easy out of the gate on his playing time. Considering the high level of competitiveness he possesses, many would think not, no matter how wise an idea it may sound.
Having been advised to proceed to sit out the rest of the 2013-14 season, there will undoubtedly be rust upon Kobe Bryant’s return. However, largely Byron Scott’s plan will be to use his Princeton-Y offense to maximize as much of Kobe’s skill set as he can with as little risk as possible. Yet, in the NBA you can only be so cautious.
Lakers fans will have to trust enough in the talents that Kobe Bryant possesses and the coaching mind of Byron Scott. There are very few athletes with the passion, work ethic, regimen, and intellectual know-how of Bryant. While many may discount his career at this stage due to age and injury, any fan who knows athleticism objectively, and the personality and will of a talent such as Kobe, simply know better.