When Kobe ruptured his Achilles on that horrible April 12th night, Laker fans across the world went into extreme panic thinking that that night would be the last time they would watch Kobe play the game that he loves. But as every Laker fan knows, that competitive drive that Kobe has would never allow him to exit the basketball scene in such a way.
Recent interviews with Kobe have led to statements saying that Kobe wants to play another two or three years after his contract ends next season, which means 2013-2014 will not be his last year on the basketball court. We all thought that this was his way of trying to get back on the court one more time, but in a recent sit-down interview with Lakers reporter Mike Trudell, Kobe admitted he has found other forms of motivation.
Kobe has taken the Lakers to seven NBA Finals, has won five of those seven, and was voted as Finals MVP twice. The part that sticks out in Kobe’s mind is not how many rings he has won, it is how many he has to make up for.
In 2004 the Lakers lost for the first time in a NBA Finals appearance during the Kobe era to the Detroit Pistons, leading to the departure of Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson. Then, before Kobe led the Lakers to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, the Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics for Kobe’s second NBA Finals loss. If you think Kobe has forgotten about those two loses, think again.
“I definitely think about ’08 and ’04. It makes me want to get another one and make up for it.”
And those two losses did not suffice for Kobe, watching the Spurs get so close to winning their fifth championship also gave another reason as to why he should continue his pursuit of his sixth NBA title.
“Watching San Antonio getting so close to winning number five probably hurt me a little bit. I want to make sure I push the ring count out a little further. It was really, really close there.”
Although Kobe did not say who he was rooting for in this season’s NBA Finals between the Spurs and the Heat, but deep down you had to know that Kobe did not want Tim Duncan and the boys to win their fifth title and challenge his dynasty.
But Kobe did take away something from the Spurs’ phenomenal finals performance.
“It’s a testament to what skill can do. To what us old guys can do if you play together, if you play with one mind and one purpose you can accomplish great things. It was inspirational for me and hopefully inspirational for the city of Los Angeles and this organization of what we can do, how this tide can change fairly quickly and we’ll be looking at a parade.”
For Laker fans we want nothing more than to watch Kobe on the court again. We want to see him hitting the buzzer beaters, making absurd shots, and of course making the “Kobe face” during crunch time, but the fact that he now has a new ultimatum gives the Laker faithful something to look forward too not only this season, but maybe another two or three years.
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