Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers At A Crossroad


Oct 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the second half against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

After the NBA’s season opener, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be at a crossroad

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It’s debatable that the lone bright spot this season for the Los Angles Lakers was going to be the development of rookie forward Julius Randle.

After that, what did the Lakers really have going for them this season?

Any hope, even in the most optimistic of Lakers fans, was quickly extinguished early Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets. Although, for a sudden moment, it all had returned during a brief moment in the second half.

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard got into a “scuffle” and tempers arose. The swagger was back. The Staples Center crowd was in it. Kobe was getting his revenge on Dwight, even the cameras caught Kobe yelling “soft” at Dwight’s direction. LINK

It was good. The Lakers swagger was back. In that moment. Kobe freaking Bryant.

Literally minutes later though, it was all gone again. Rock bottom had returned.

The Los Angeles Lakers hope, bravado and, perhaps, their season was all gone.

Late in the fourth quarter, in a decided game mind you, Randle went down with what appeared to be a severe lower leg injury. A quiet spirit spread throughout Staples like never before. It was almost as if the entire arena saw their entire season fall down the kitchen sink — again.

Moments ago, they were cheering for Kobe Bryant as he squared off against Dwight. Now, they were in total shock. Everything that they had hoped didn’t happen again did. Another injury. This time, to their future.

Randle (the future) was carried onto the stretcher by Kobe and Carlos Boozer (the past), and then carted off the court. That was it. Before his season had even started, it was over.

Two points.

At the time he was being carted off, TNT’s Rachel Nichols reported that he had broken his leg.

That was later confirmed as a broken right tibia. A timetable for the injury hasn’t been announced yet, though, he could ultimately miss the season if severe enough.

In a worst-case scenario, let’s say that he does miss the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers season. What happens then?

What is the Lakers life then?

Moments ago, they were cheering for Kobe Bryant as he squared off against Dwight. Now, they were in total shock. Everything that they had hoped didn’t happen again did. Another injury. This time, to their future.

This season is not going to result in a playoff appearance, much less an NBA Championship.

If this isn’t going to be a season in which they can progress their one key young future piece that they have in place, then what’s the point?

The most ironic thing of it all is that the little dance between Kobe Bryant and Dwight personified everything.

Kobe got into Dwight’s face — why?

Kobe screamed “soft” at him — why?

Kobe felt like the bigger man in that situation — why?

It made no sense. I mean, sure. For the Kobe Bryant stans, and the Los Angeles Lakers fans that are still grudging against Dwight Howard, it was probably the best moment in the history of the franchise.

But at what expense?

“We finally showed up Dwight.” 

Oddly enough, the Lakers are still going to be celebrating that moment in late April and early May while Dwight Howard is, you know, actually playing meaningful basketball in the playoffs.

But the Lakers are always going to have that moment. 

What’s the point of playing out the rest of the season, if you’re the Lakers.

I mean, in actuality, it has to be played. Mostly just for the pay checks. But what’s really the point? What’s life after Julius Randle?

Is there life behind him this season for the Lakers?

Randle is going to begin what looks like a long recovery. The Lakers haven’t even admitted that they’re hurt. They’re still living in the past, at the expense of their fans.

Sure, Kobe Bryant is back. But at what expense?

The injury to Randle is not Kobe’s fault. I’m not trying to say that. However, the unfortunate injury does open eyes. Or at least it should.

Was this all really worth it, Lakers?

Have Kobe. Have his little moments, as he did Tuesday night. Have his payback games. Have it all. Continue down the road of denial.

But for God’s sake, let the injury to Randle be an eye opener.

Is it all worth it, in the end?

We’re in game 2 of 82 in the 2014-15 NBA season, and the Lakers currently have no one player on their roster that they can honestly admit is going to be a part of their future.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant are certainly at a crossroad. And I’m not sure they know what’s supposed to happen next.

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