Once the news came down that Kobe Bryant would miss the rest of the season with a torn rotator cuff, there were immediately questions about whether or not he would return next season. Already 19 seasons in, this was the third consecutive season that Kobe Bryant would suffer a season-ending injury.
Kobe, however, has maintained that he will return for his 20th season next year, and reiterated that point as he addressed the media prior to the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Detroit Pistons via Lakers Nation Reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe Bryant: "Who the hell said I was retiring? It was never a question for me on whether I was going to play next year."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 11, 2015
Kobe has always been one of the strongest-willed players in the NBA. He thrives on competition and people doubting him and that will fuel him on his comeback. He has also mentioned many times that the process of getting back to that high level pushes him and it will no doubt do so again.
With the latest injury happening to his upper body as opposed to his lower body, Kobe said he is in higher spirits and is expected to be able to run again in the next couple of weeks. If all goes well, Kobe should be ready to go by the Lakers’ season opener next season.
Most expect next season to be his final season and Kobe has said that it likely will be. Even still, the Lakers have stated that they won’t sacrifice the future in order to try and win in Kobe’s final year and Kobe has backed up that plan as well.
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