Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant speaks during a press conference before the 2014 NBA All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant: the season that wasn't


Much like the 2012-13 season ended for the Los Angeles Lakers, this season hasn’t fared the way it was supposed to. Specifically, for Kobe Bryant.

This was supposed to be his comeback season — the season when he proved to everyone that he wasn’t done and that, even at such an advanced age, Kobe would defy the odds and comeback from such a deflating injury.

But it wasn’t.

Instead, after recovering from one significant injury (torn Achilles tendon), he was hit with another (fracture of his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee).

Which, for the record, wasn’t the plan.

And I guess, in a way, it has finally hit home. It’s finally official that this wasn’t the season that it should’ve been – for Kobe at least.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, the Lakers are officially going to declare Kobe out for the rest of the season.

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to declare Bryant out for the rest of the 2013-14 Lakers season later this week, according to team sources. Bryant is not accompanying the team on its trip to Oklahoma City and San Antonio, staying back to be reexamined by team doctor Steve Lombardo. And considering where Bryant’s level of discomfort remains with the fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, barring an unforeseen change, the team will finalize the decision that Bryant will not play again this season.

But, hey, let’s give him his due. He did play in six games this season, where he averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. And while, at the time, he was getting back into basketball shape and shaking off rust from his injury, it’s the only lasting impression that we were left with this season. Sad.

It’s not the season that it was supposed to be.

It’s not only that, though. The Lakers are a complete mess. One injury to Kobe, one could argue, set Los Angeles back a handful of years. Again, “one could argue”. Plenty believe that even if Kobe played this season, the Lakers would still be one of the worst teams in the league.

I’m not one of those people.

But, back to the Lakers. Look at this graphic, of the Lakers season leaders, and tell me this is a “Lakers” team.

LAkers

It’s not the season that it was supposed to be.

It’s also not only on Kobe, though. Let’s give father time a point, too.

The sad part is that we have probably seen the last of “Kobe’s Lakers”. The next time the Lakers get back to relevancy, it won’t be because of Kobe.

Again, this was supposed to be Kobe’s last hurrah. It was supposed to be his “FU” to the rest of the NBA. It was supposed to be any, if not all those things.

One thing it wasn’t supposed to be, however, is what it is now.

The Lakers are 22-42, dead-last in the Western Conference, and Kobe only played six (SIX) games this season.

It’s not the season that it was supposed to be.

I mean, sure, Kobe is going to come back next season. I’m sure he’ll be whatever his body will allow him to be. The bottom line is that, like it or not, Kobe is not Kobe anymore. He’s simply Kobe Bryant – “he was so good, man”.

But after everything this season wasn’t, he cashed in like it was.

Kobe was able to sign a two-year, $48 million contract extension in November to remain the NBA’s highest-paid player.

He’ll be with the Lakers, and probably an active player in the NBA, for at least two more years. Let’s enjoy him for what he is. After all, the last two chances he had at having “one more season”, it wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

Let’s not put pressure on him and just let him be. Let him begin to evaporate into the proverbial NBA sky – and even then, we’ll always have the memories.

After all, this season wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

Let’s just hope that the last years of his NBA career ARE what they’re supposed to be.

 

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