Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Kobe Bryant won’t be same player in ‘rebuilding year’ for Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers will be entering the 2013-2014 season with plenty of unknowns. For starters, Kobe Bryant is coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon, which is one of the most serious injuries in sports. The injury occurred less than six months ago, though Kobe appears to be making tremendous progress in his rehab. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not believe that progress will be enough to allow Bryant to return to form.
During an interview with CBS Sports Radio earlier this week, Abdul-Jabbar said he expects the Lakers to be in for a pretty rough season.
“It’s a rebuilding year for them because Kobe has been hurting and he has a very devastating type of injury,” he said, via CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. “I don’t think he will be able to come back as quickly and completely as he would like. It’s gonna be tough on the Lakers this year.
“When Kobe does come back, it’s gonna be a different Kobe and that will definitely effect the outcome for the Lakers long-term. … It’s gonna be a test for him this year, absolutely.”
Lakers executive Jim Buss said that he expects Bryant to be ready for the start of the season, but that could be wishful thinking. Kobe also recently posted a video of himself jumping off a 40-foot high dive platform.
The reality of the situation is that Kobe is 35 years old and coming off a major injury. He was going to start slowing down at some point anyway. The injury will probably accelerate that process. The Lakers also lost Dwight Howard via free agency, so they have plenty of obstacles to overcome. They’d surprise plenty of people if they emerged as a championship contender.