Friday, January 14, 2011
Kobe Admits He's Not In His Prime, But "Still Running With These Young Pups"
Fifteen seasons in the NBA. One thousand and sixty-one games played. Thirteen playoff appearances, including seven in the NBA Finals. Twelve all-star appearances. You can go one and one with the resume of Kobe Bryant before you stop to realize that he's done all of this before the age of 33. Even more amazing is that he is still arguably one of the best players in the NBA. Per this story seen over at the OC Register, Kobe comments on his age and physical ability:
"In my prime, I couldn't do the things Dominique could do," Bryant said.
"I should be nowhere near playing at the level I'm playing at right now, 15 years into the league, the draft class that I came in," Bryant said. "I'm still running with these young pups."
Basically what he is saying that he may not be as quick or be able to jump as high as he could in his younger days but Bryant is still more than capable of dominating a game, as he displayed while scoring 30 points in the final 19 minutes of a victory against the Warriors Wednesday night. There is a big difference between physical prime and mental prime, as Kobe pointed out after the Warriors game;
"It doesn't matter who's on me. Go time is go time. ... You've got a responsibility to your team to try to come through in those situations and make the right play. Tonight, I did that."
That kind of mentality is exactly why as long as the Lakers have Kobe Bryant on the floor they are a title contender. You can stack your squad with all-stars (Miami, anyone?) but if those players don't have that competitive fire it may not be enough. I think we really take for granted how great of a player Kobe truly is.
Oh and for everyone that thinks Kobe is washed up; how does 25 ppg, 5 rpg and 5 assists with 9 fingers and a bum knee in your 15th season sound? Sounds like greatness to me.