I know it has been a while since I posted my first installment of “Lakers Fans Are Spoiled”. I thought this is would be the perfect time to start it up again. I predicted that the Lakers would be at or 2-3 games above .500 by the time Kobe came back. I expected him to be back in January, but I can’t be right about everything. Before you label me as a “hater” of Kobe Bryant and/or Laker Nation, know that I was a Lakers fan for 25 years before I ended my allegiance the summer of 07’ (that is a long story which I may write a long post about one of these days).
Kobe returned for his first game in just under 8 months from the most serious injury in his career. The Achilles injury he sustained back on April 12th should have kept him out for at least 9 months. That is the usual “suggested” recovery time, but of course he is considered “Super Human” to Kobe fanatics and most of Laker Nation. With that said, it is good to have Kobe back for his last few years in the league.
Unlike some fanatics, I know that you will not see who Kobe Bryant the player will be for at least a month. I agree with Coach Nick of Bballbreakdown.com when he said that Kobe has come back to early. I do understand Kobe’s desire to come back as soon as possible. With ACL and meniscus surgeries under my belt, I know what that itch feels like. The big difference is I wanted to come back and play with and against anyone that hit the court. Kobe is coming back to play with the best basketball players on the planet!
Kobe Returns: Can He Help The Lakers?
I will not judge his first few games back, because it is not fair to expect greatness from any player after a major injury like the one he came back from. Kobe coming back early hurts him in my opinion, because he is not super human like most of his fans thinks he is. His mentality of defiance and his threshold for pain rivals any athlete that we have ever seen. These factors are also the same things that will slow his return to whatever his peak from will be for the rest of the season, and maybe for the rest of his career!
First Take Grades Kobe’s Return Performance
Here are a few factors to think about with 30+ year old superstars coming back from injury, and 35 year old players who have averaged 20 points per game. Dominique Wilkins formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, tore his Achilles tendon early in 1992. It took him 9 full months to recover from the injury, but his first game back vs the New York Knicks his stat line looked like this: 30 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists! He would go on to average nearly 30 points per game that season, along with eight 40 point games! Bernard King was another athlete that had a major knee injury that made it all the way back to be a top 5 player in the NBA. It would take King nearly two years to get back to 20 points per game, but in this 3rd year back from knee surgery he averaged 28 points per game
Players who averaged 20 points per game at age 35: Kareem Abdul Jabbar 21 ppg, Michael Jordan nearly 29 ppg, and Karl Malone nearly 24 points per game. That list of players didn’t have to come back from major injuries at 35, but like Kobe fans and Laker Nation would say….we’re talking about Kobe Bryant! Check back in a month, and we’ll discuss this again.
SOURCE: CLINT LOMAX OF VANCOUVER BASKETBALL