This has become an annual tradition. We get to this point in the season – the homestretch – and without fail Kobe Bryant is nursing an injury of some kind. It’s either a knee or an ankle or that never-to-heal finger that’s the usual culprit. This time around it’s an ankle. And once again it is the all too familiar argument: Rest or Play?
For the record, Phil Jackson has already signed off on a Kobe shutdown for Friday’s tilt against the T-Wolves. But that means little. PJ hasn’t had any success at getting his best player to save some in the tank for the postseason. Mamba only knows one speed.
Last year I openly debated if Bryant was too competitive for his own good. A hard to fathom argument made even more difficult when you’re begging the world’s best player to take a night off.
But such is the nature of a true champion.
Bryant’s suck-it-up mentality has certainly paid dividends. He’s not so arrogant as to play at the expense of costing his team a chance at victory. By the same token his ability to deal with pain has translated to his teammates. Just rewind to Andrew Bynum’s gutsy performance in the playoffs last year.
Still, each year you feel as if KB24 is tempting fate in almost Favreian fashion.
The human body wears down with time. No matter how well one conditions oneself the law of entropy will always emerge victorious in the long run.
Whereas last season the Lakers had the top spot in the West sewn up, this season is much different.
The Lake Show sits in a second place tie with the Dallas Mavericks while the Spurs appear to be saddled in atop the best conference in hoops. If ever there was a year for Kobe to gut it out this would be the time.
Naturally the immediate concern is what this could mean come time for the playoffs. Last season we had to watch in horror as Bryant limped through a tough six game series against Oklahoma City.
Without the benefit of homecourt in all the rounds the path to the Finals is even more dangerous a road to traverse.
In the end this whole diatribe is just blog filler. We all know Kobe isn’t going to sit unless he loses a limb. Even then it would take a janky prosthesis to keep him off the court.