He’s tweeted just three times since training camp opened. But don’t doubt that he’s watching.
After the Lakers were slotted to a 12th place finish in the Western Conference by ESPN, Bryant let America know he was watching.
Twice, Bryant has posted this image to his Instagram. The first was mere days after his Achilles surgery. The second was more recent and during his rehab, maybe as a bit of self-motivation.
Take a look at his Twitter avatar. The “1225″ picture, which some thought was a target date of December 25th as a return date, stands for the 12th place prediction for the Lakers and the #NBArank by ESPN that slotted him at 25th. There was no tweet acknowledging the ranking this time, but Bryant knows.
No current player, and maybe any player in the history of the league, may be as motivated as Bryant is. Some criticize him for seeking out motivation – his 25th ranking by ESPN the most recent. Bryant is one of the rare specimens who feeds off the criticism. He enjoys hearing it. He desires it.
He was written off a brash high school bust after airballing three consecutive shots against the Jazz in the playoffs
He was seen as a selfish ego-maniac when Shaq and Phil Jackson left town in the same summer while Bryant returned
He was nothing more than a great scorer as he dropped 81 points on the Raptors, yet couldn’t get past the first round
He was never going to be able to win without Shaq when the Lakers lost embarrassingly to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals
He was bound to lose to beat Father Time as hand, finger, ankle, and knee injuries began to take their toll on him
He was officially done when he crumpled to the ground with a torn Achilles
If you haven’t learned yet, writing Bryant off is silly. Some never learn their lesson. If you keep counting him out, maybe one day you’ll be right. Father Time WILL eventually catch Bryant. No human is immortal. No human has won the battle against Father Time. Not even Bryant is beating Father Time, just delaying the inevitable.
So Bryant continues to fight. The more the media and fans talk about how he can’t possibly return, the more fuel Bryant has. Each year, more fuel is needed to stoke the fire that feeds his unparalleled drive. One year, he won’t be able to find enough fuel for that fire. One year, he will eventually fade into the shadows – or at least the best someone of his magnitude can.
But until that day, Bryant will sit back and watch. So be careful what you say next. He’ll see it.