After battling back from an Achilles tendon tear, Kobe Bryant was finally able to make his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. Bryant faced off against the visiting Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center and struggled to shake off the rust after missing eight months due to an extensive rehab process.
Following the loss to Toronto, the future Hall of Famer spoke to the media about his season debut and how he felt after finally being able to get back on the floor with his teammates. As expected, Bryant was his harshest critic after a rough outing against the Raptors via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe says he would give himself an “F” grade on his performance tonight.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 9, 2013
The glaring stat for Bryant in the loss to the Raptors was the eight turnovers he committed. No one doubted the fact that he’d struggle to play like the superstar of old in his debut, but Bryant clearly wasn’t happy about giving Toronto eight more opportunities to score.
Along with giving himself the worst grade possible, Bryant also chimed in on the condition of his Achilles after his first game back with the Lakers. Bryant said his Achilles felt completely fine after the loss and was anxious to watch film of his mistakes in order to start the process of correcting them.
Despite a forgettable performance by the five-time NBA champion, there’s reason for optimism moving forward with Bryant noticeably excited about finally making his debut and having something to work on in terms of improving.
Next up for the Lakers will be the division rival Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at the Staples Center before the team hits the road to take on Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant Talks About Season Debut Being A Failure