Kobe Bryant answered a series of questions during a promotional event at the Westfield Culver City shopping center on Saturday for the latest release of his signature Nike Kobe IX shoe, hosted by Jeff G., The Sports Dude. In his 18th season, Bryant is arguably in the midst of his most difficult stretch in the NBA, with respect to injury.
The 35-year-old ruptured his Achilles late in the 2013 season when the Los Angeles Lakers were making a strong push heading into the playoffs. Only six games into his return this season, he fractured his left knee, which has sidelined him since Dec. 20. Affectionately referred to as the “Black Mamba”, Bryant provided some insight as to what kind of mentality comes with moniker, according to Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters:
.@kobebryant on Black Mamba mentality: “No matter what happens come hell or high water you’re going to figure it out. Never die attitude”
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 1, 2014
The mentality Bryant speaks of is a major factor in why he is so revered and why he’s been able to bounce back from previous injuries much earlier than recovery timetables projected. It’s also the same thought process that has played a role in Bryant’s assertion that he would return this season when healthy, despite where the Lakers may be in standings. Bryant has stated on numerous occasions that he would continue playing basketball so long as he is able to meet his standards and not simply be viewed as someone who has aged and is simply trying to prolong his career.
Bryant’s “never die attitude” was on full display last season when he routinely played 40 minutes a game and willed the Lakers to one victory after another. Prior to getting injured against the Golden State Warriors on April 12, Bryant was the driving force behind the Lakers late-season climb in the standings that had many believing the Lakers were a threat to upset their opponent in the first round of the playoffs. With a two-year, $48.5 million extension in hand, Bryant is again tasked with fighting his way back, whenever that is, and proving the naysayers wrong.
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