Prior to the last three seasons, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant had been relatively healthy throughout his career. There were some nagging injuries here and there, but for the most part, Kobe had avoided major injuries that would require months of rehab and recovery.
Now Kobe has dealt with a season-ending injury in each of the last three seasons and entering his 20th year in the NBA, the end of his career is approaching. Even though it has been tough, Kobe told Chinese newspaper Sina that the injuries have given him perspective:
They gave me perspective. Prior to the injury I knew that the game wasn’t going to be there forever. I knew that, but I wasn’t expecting it. I told my kids, ‘My career could be over now’, so when that happened, it changed my perspective. I started reflecting on this journey,” Kobe continued ”It made me understand the finality of things and to appreciate them.”
It sounds as if Kobe knows that he doesn’t have much time left on the court, but going through this has helped him appreciate everything that he has done to this point. He will surely go down as one of the best to ever play the game, but it’s hard to appreciate that while a player is still active.
Going through these trials has allowed Kobe to embrace the fact that his career is almost over, but to appreciate everything he has done in the NBA. Though even Kobe himself isn’t sure exactly when that end will come, he seems at peace with walking away when the time arrives.