After NBA legend Kobe Bryant had yet another scoring outburst, fans began once again questioning his decision to retire at the end of this season. While the 37-year-old may still have some fight left in him, Father Time has indeed caught up to the 5-time NBA Champion.
“I feel horrible,” said Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers 120-111 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his last matchup with longtime rival LeBron James. “My ankles, knees, everything. This stretch couldn’t come at a better time. My ankles hurt. My knees hurt. So I’m looking forward to having a complete week where I just do nothing.”
After the postgame conference, Kobe exclaimed, “Oh my God,” clearly in pain as he limped toward the exit.
It’s safe to say that 20 seasons in the NBA has taken its toll on the Black Mamba, and with injuries cutting short his last three years, he was smart to give it one final go before the Lakers hang his jersey from the rafters. And while the halfway point of his last season (NBA All-Star Weekend) may bring mixed emotions for some fans, Bryant is more than ready to rest his aching body.
“It is busy, but it’s also very selective,” said Bryant, dispelling the idea that he’ll spend the entire week participating in activities for his final All-Star Game. “There’s certain things that we’ll do that’s short bursts of appearances, but nothing too long, nothing where I’m on my feet for long periods of time. It’s also the last one, so I try to enjoy it as much as I can. But it’s no running, it’s no pounding, it’s none of that stuff. It’s rest with plenty of ice baths in between.”
I guess sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Gregg Popovich will be coaching the Western Conference team, so one can only imagine he’ll be able to get a feel for just how much to use Kobe.
So—although I wouldn’t be surprised if the fans vote for him anyways—don’t expect Kobe to chase after that record-breaking fifth NBA All-Star MVP.