On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant had successful surgery on his right rotator cuff in which he injured on Jan. 21 against the New Orleans Pelicans.
After undergoing successful surgery, Kobe will miss the rest of the season and be out for nine months. So expect to see the Black Mamba ready to go at full strength in the 2015-16 season. Injuries are seemingly starting to become a common factor for Bryant as he missed 76 games last season due to a knee injury he suffered after coming back from an Achilles injury that he suffered in the 2012-13 season. With all these injuries popping up on the 36-year-old guard from Lower Merion High School, is it time for him to hang it up?
Now when you pose this question to basketball fans, you get a very heated debate on both sides with one side saying the game has simply passed Kobe and the other side saying that Kobe cannot go out this way, he is one of the greatest players of all time. I am on the latter of the two sides; Bryant cannot and will not go out this way. He will go out on his terms which is the right thing to do.
The player, who has not one but five championships, is still the main attraction in Los Angeles, not Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Sorry, Clippers, you might be winning more games than the Lake Show but Kobe is still putting butts in the seats.
Even at 36, Bryant is still playing at a high level despite the Lakers having a record of 12-34. This season, Kobe was averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in 34.5 minutes per game. That's ridiculous for a player at Kobe's age to put up that amount points. In comparison to Michael Jordan, at the age of 36, he had already retired. But when he came back at the age of 38 in the 2001-02 season with the Washington Wizards, he only averaged 22.9 points per game.
Finally, in his last season with the Wizards in the 2002-03 season, he only scored 20 points per game. If Jordan can do that at almost 40 years old, why can't Kobe give it a go one more time next season. Yes I know Bryant is owed $25 million next season, in which some people say he should not even make that much. But Gilbert Arenas, who isn't in the league anymore was making $23 million in 2013.
My point is that for people to say that the Mamba needs to hang it up; it's a bunch of malarkey. The guy can still score, put butts in the seats at the Staples Center and has 32,482 career points. Maybe if the front office can put some pieces around him going into the final year of his contract, just maybe we will see Bryant go out on his own terms.