In a reflective interview with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, Kobe Bryant talks about his comeback, his career and, of course, his fear of uncertainty.
In a specific piece (that is featured below), Kobe opens up talking about the uncertainty he has when coming back from this particular injury. Then in the latter portion, he goes on to talk about how Floyd Mayweather has adjusted his game throughout his career.
And Kobe would like to adopt Mayweather’s strategy in doing just that.
“I have self-doubt,” Bryant says. “I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it. You rise above it. … I don’t know how I’m going to come back from this injury. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be horses—.” He pauses, as if envisioning himself as an eighth man. “Then again, maybe I won’t, because no matter what, my belief is that I’m going to figure it out. Maybe not this year or even next year, but I’m going to stay with it until I figure it out….”
He adopted a title for the next phase of his career, which will begin when rehab ends and he sticks that gold Lakers jersey back in his teeth, whether on opening night or Christmas Day or sometime in between. “It’s The Last Chapter,” Bryant says. “The book is going to close. I just haven’t determined how many pages are left.” He has no interest in a conversation about legacy. What excites him is evolution achieved through sports, each setback steeling a person for the next. “I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward,” Bryant says. “I reflect with a purpose.” Gather all his touchstones, look at them together, and they can gird the greatest player of his time for the biggest obstacle yet….
“Maybe I won’t have as much explosion,” Bryant says. “Maybe I’ll be slower. Maybe I’ll lose quickness. But I have other options. It’s like Floyd Mayweather in the ring. There’s a reason he’s still at the top after all these years. He’s the most fundamentally sound boxer of all time. He can fight myriad styles at myriad tempos. He can throw fast punches or off-speed punches, and he can throw them from odd angles.”
Yes. Kobe gets it.
That was my first reaction. My second one was if Kobe could indeed adapt to certain situations. Maybe he will lose quickness and speed, all he would do is take opponents into the post and nail turnaround jumpers. We get that.
But what about when he has to adapt to not being a No. 1 option. That is another thing. I’m not sure how he reacts, but it should be interesting.
By the way, my favorite line from the whole interview was: “I don’t know how I’m going to come back from this injury. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be horses—.” He pauses, as if envisioning himself as an eighth man.
That’s some pretty strong stuff.