The Trepidation Of Flying: Bracing For Kobe Bryant’s Return Reviewed by Momizat on . If you've ever met someone who has trepidation of flying, they’ll tell you the takeoff, the landing and the various levels of turbulence in between are the scar If you've ever met someone who has trepidation of flying, they’ll tell you the takeoff, the landing and the various levels of turbulence in between are the scar Rating: 0
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The Trepidation Of Flying: Bracing For Kobe Bryant’s Return

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets

If you’ve ever met someone who has trepidation of flying, they’ll tell you the takeoff, the landing and the various levels of turbulence in between are the scariest parts. Those three parts of the flight no one has any control over besides the pilot.

The uncertainly that clouds Kobe Bryant’s return sends similar shock waves through every fan’s nervous system. While we all can’t wait for Kobe to come back, we’re nervous what type of player he’ll come back as, as father time is undefeated; but the Black Mamba is taking it to 12 rounds. It’s a situation where we’re so invested, but we also have no control.

Kobe means something different to every single of his fans (just read how people respond to anything he posts on social networks), but above all, the five-time world champion’s significance lies in these three themes: consistency, optimism and hope.

We all need some form of hope in our day-to-day lives, it’s used as a motive for a lot us normal folks to wake up and function morning after morning. Hope that we do well in school, so we can hopefully get into university, which we hope can lead to a career that can provide for our future families, so on and so forth. Kobe is symbolic of that glimmer of hope for so many of us, even when we come up a little short in our daily goals, we can vicariously live through Bryant’s mind-blowing late game theatrics that evening.

Kobe Bryant entered the NBA in the fall of 1996 and has remained relevant to present day, a feat less than a handful of his peers have been able to accomplish.

17 years of excellence is a long time for anything, let alone professional sports. In 17 years, economies around the globe grow and plummet, technologies become popularized and extinct, folks get married and divorced, and the President can potentially change four times, all the while Bryant has still been one of the top 10 basketball players in the world.

Without Bryant suiting up in the golden armor, the Los Angeles Lakers have been a joy to watch, but just not the same. Without him and Steve Nash, dare I say the Lakers are just like every other team clawing for a playoff spot (sorry, Pau!). Twitter user @gabedahl, said it best in a recent tweet: “technically, ‘the Lakers’ and ‘Kobe Bryant’ are two different things, but for fans of my generation that concept is difficult.”

To see your heroes become human is a natural part of growing up. Once their athleticism betrayed them, Shawn Kemp was revealed to be a man dependent on drugs, Allen Iverson became an irresponsible adult who refused to accept his limitations up until his recent retirement and apparently, Tracy McGrady was too lazy to get his pants tailored, just like the rest of us.

That point has yet to come for the Laker legend.

On April 12, when he tore his Achilles, it was the most human we’ve seen him since he chucked up a series of air balls against the Utah Jazz as a brash rookie. The most humane moment of all may come a couple games into his return, when  he learn that regardless of how hard he worked to rehab that Achilles tendon, the NBA’s last Alpha Dog may still have lost his bite.

The deck is stacked against Bryant. According to ESPN’s department of statistics and information, no player in NBA history has averaged over 21 points per game in his eighteenth season or later.

There’s a list of reasons for why Kobe’s comeback is destined to fail that stretches farther than the Great Wall of China.

They say that there’s no way a 35-year-old can come back the same after such a serious injury at this stage of their career. They’ll use the examples of Chauncey Billups, Elton Brand and Mehmet Okur to demonstrate how every player who has suffered the same injury in the last 10 years has returned as a shadow of their former selves.

But remember, Kobe will never win another championship without Shaq, they also said.

And the truth is no one knows how or when Kobe will return, but much like how the passenger who hates to fly has no choice but to trust the pilot’s ability to get them to their destination safely, us fans can only sit back and believe that the undisputed face of the Lakers can defy every odd, once more.  There are some things that are just out of our control, and the sooner we accept that, the more we’ll enjoy it.

Heck, if the Lakers’ front office believes enough in Bryant to invest $48 million in him over the next two years, then so should we.

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About The Author

Lee joined Lakers Nation in 2011 as a staff writer and attended Ryerson University in Toronto for journalism. To read more of Gabe's work for Lakers Nation click here. Follow Gabe on Twitter @therealgaber.

Number of Entries : 92
  • Gregory Choa

    No trepidation here – it’s all upside. There is virtually nothing to fear in anticipation of Kobe’s return. Personally I’m not anticipating the Kobe of old, even the Kobe of last season. I’m realistic enough to understand that coming off this particular injury there is going to be fall-off in terms of both Kobe’s explosiveness and his endurance, but I truly believe he can compensate for all that with his competitiveness, toughness and sheer basketball IQ.

    His return to the lineup is exactly the tonic that this group of players needs to elevate all of their respective games. Kobe is going to make everyone better with his mere presence, on the floor, in the huddle, and on the bench. Kobe is the synergist…the alchemist that will turn these ordinary metals into gold.

    There is so much to be thankful for with respect to Kobe’s impending return.

  • Martin Susman

    I hope that Kobe can usher in a new position into the NBA, that position being “Closer”. Kobe sits back through three quarters & comes into the game in the 4th to stael the game for the Lakers. If by chance the team is already ahead, he waits longer, if a blowout with them behind, he does not come in at all. Player the “closer” could add years to not only his playing career but also to the career’s of a dozen other players. Playing the “closer” reduces the fear of another major injury & makes the play in the 4th quarter even better then it now is. (Not for nash, he is done & should be sent off into Toronto land & Gasol needs to go bye bye & trade somehow someday for first round draft picks in the next draft).

    • kobe24

      Interesting idea but really flawed.

  • Carlos

    Nice article Mr Lee.

    • Gabriel Lee

      Thanks, Carlos.

  • Troy

    I like how you started this article Mr. Lee :)
    It feels like I was watching a dramatic movie. Great.

    • Gabriel Lee

      Appreciate it, Troy.

  • Apex

    I’ve watched every game this year and watched almost every game last year. This lakers team is different. It’s better!! IMO I don’t think we need the same Kobe Bryant as last year. He should take it easy, play along with the team just an equal player, and not try to out do himself, and allow his teammates to get minutes and touches. I would say Kobe really just needs to be the Kobe we have known in the last 5-6 minutes of the game. All he has to do down the stretch is play some isolation post play on the high block. He should really only need to play about 25 mins a game with how deep this bench is right now. I’m not worried in the least about his play, I’m petrified of him getting injured again…..

    • Gregory Choa

      Two words: Point Forward

  • myJasper

    Nice piece Gabe!

    • Gabriel Lee


  • Kevin

    Take some pride in your work and do some fucking proof reading Lee

  • Martin Olivera

    Wonderfully written piece. That definitely hit home.

    • Gabriel Lee

      Thank you, Martin.

  • PurpsNGold

    Well written. Kudos.

    • Gabriel Lee


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