There has been a lot of debate about whether Kobe Bryant should try to return to the Los Angeles Lakers this season or if he should continue to sit out to recover. Sitting out would be helpful on two ends: it would prevent further injury, and it would theoretically help the Lakers’ draft status. But Kobe says he plans to return to the team this season.
“If you give yourself wiggle room to not push yourself as hard as you possibly can by thinking ‘I’m going to sit out’ . . . then the motivation’s gone, and I refuse to have that happen,” Bryant said Friday before the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics, 107-104, via the Los Angeles Times. “It’s my job to be ready.”
Is anyone surprised by Kobe’s mentality? He’s the player who returned early from his Achilles’ tendon injury, and he’s the same guy who seems to return early from all medical timetables whenever he gets hurt (if he even agrees to sit out at all). That tenacious mentality has its benefits and costs; it’s part of what drives Kobe towards greatness, but it can also lead him to hurt himself even more when he pushes himself.
After Kobe returned early from his Achilles injury, he only played six games before hurting his knee. Plus, he wasn’t exactly fitting in well with the offense because an adjustment had to be made.
Kobe returning to what fans have already determined is a lost season may be nice, but it goes against the “tanking” mentality many of them have already embraced. As I wrote when Charles Barkley said he thinks it would be best for Kobe to sit out the year, I agree. It’s probably best for him and the team.