One of the biggest story lines of the 2013-14 NBA season will be the return of Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in the final week of the regular season, which ultimately caused him to miss the playoffs. Typically a player needs six to nine months in order to make a full recovery, but Bryant has proven during his 17-year career that he is far from typical.
All eyes will be on Kobe as we near training camp and opening night, but whenever he does set foot on the court again — whether it be in early October, Christmas Day or post All-Star break — there’s one thing for sure: he will be the same player that fans have come to love and hate. Below are 10 reasons why there will be no setbacks in the Black Mamba’s game when he ultimately does return to the court in purple and gold — or black.
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10. He’s already way ahead of the usual rehab schedule
Kobe Bryant got injured on April 12 against the Golden State Warriors. If he took the full normal amount of recovery time he wouldn’t be back until mid-January. However, Kobe has done so well with his rehab he has sparked talk and debate about whether he could be back on the court by the start of training camp. If you think this is all just the media blowing smoke into a story, read Bryant’s words for yourself:
“The normal timetable for recovery from an Achilles, we’ve shattered that. Three-and-a-half months I can already walk just fine, I’m lifting weights with the Achilles just fine and that’s different. So we don’t know what that timetable is going to be. It’s kind of new territory for us all.”
9. He’s come back from a major surgery before
In the summer of 2011, Kobe went overseas to Germany in order to get a knee procedure done. All he did next season was average 27.9 PPG 5.4 RPG, 4.6 APG while playing in all 58 games of the lockout-shortened season. This was no run of the mill surgery either, Andrew Bynum got the same procedure done to his knee last year, and he didn’t even suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers at all. Bryant has also played through some pretty severe injuries instead of sitting out. In the 2000 NBA Finals he put aside an ankle sprain to lead the Lakers to a critical victory in Game 4. He played through a back injury in the 2008 Western Conference semifinals. Finally, in 2009 he led the Lakers to their first championship since 2002 with a dislocated right pinky finger.
8. He is the hardest working man in all of sports
I want you to try and wake up at 5 a.m. just once a week and see how you feel when you try and drag yourself out of bed to be productive. Kobe Bryant does this every day. He’s up with the sun and getting in a workout while his peers are still dreaming of fame and stardom. There is nobody else in the entire sports world that is more dedicated and devoted to his craft than KB24. It’s not just a matter of luck that Kobe has managed to be so successful for so long. He puts the time in, hours upon hours of it, to be exact. It seems that he is constantly adding new moves to his arsenal, remember he mastered the Dirk Nowitzki one-legged fadeaway in the matter of a single off-season. He has footwork that even Hakeem Olajuwon would applaud. Bryant is a true student of the game and every other athlete needs to take notes.