We all love/hate Charles Barkley for the same reason: he speaks his mind.
I personally like Barkley and how he says what’s on his mind, whether he’s right or wrong.
Most recently, Barkley had this to say with regards to Kobe Bryant and his injury on the Dan Patrick Show:
“I think he can be a good player. That’s it. Is he going to be an All-Star? He’ll probably be an All-Star because the fans will vote him in. But as far as being a dominant player, that’s not going to happen.”
With this, I have to strongly disagree.
Barkley actually makes it very easy for me to disagree with him for a few reasons.
First, he could have simply said Kobe wouldn’t be the same player or wouldn’t have the same explosion.
Or, he could have said that he won’t be able to carry the load offensively for the Lakers all by himself anymore.
He could have even said that offensively Kobe would be okay, but defensively, he simply wouldn’t be able to guard younger, faster players anymore.
All of those would have been reasonable, logical assessments.
However, to say that Kobe Bryant–even at the age of 35 and coming off an Achilles tear–won’t be a dominant player and imply that he won’t be of All-Star caliber any longer is just ridiculous.
Nobody will truly know how Kobe’s body will respond to the injury until he finally suits up next season, but there’s a certain feeling you get when it comes to Kobe Bryant. The feeling that he’ll will his way back into top form.
Even if he’s not the same player that had a legendary season in his 17th year and was named the fourth best player in the league by ESPN, he’ll still be dominant.
For edification, just prior to this past season he was ranked sixth in the same poll by ESPN. Additionally, he was ranked seventh the year before.
Why am I pointing this out? Because when Kobe had a full off-season to get healthy and get into tip-top game shape, he was able to dominate once again and have a truly remarkable season.
Moreover, when he hadn’t been as healthy or in as good of shape, he was still pretty darn good, and the critics and doubters fueled him to bounce back seemingly stronger than ever; creating the “Vino” nickname which symbolized his ability to get better with time.
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