Without question, Kobe Bryant is one of the best to ever play the game. His ecstatic display of pure athleticism was nothing short of mesmerizing. Especially over the last couple of weeks when it became abundantly clear that every game was essential to the Lakers dwindling chances of making the post season.
Day in and day out, Kobe battled adamantly against the critics and against the unbeatable force of nature that is time. It appeared that Kobe had the potential to overcome this impossible obstacle by going out on the court and not only playing at an unprecedented level, but also in his ability to simply dominate the competition which has garnered him several prestigious accolades along with the notoriety of being one of the most prolific and gifted players of all time.
However, as quickly as these attributes became essential to the Lakers playoff survival, it all came crashing down when Kobe realized that not even he could overcome this new found disabling injury which effectively ended his aspirations to play in the post season which he single-handedly made possible for a team that was seemingly on the verge on being the biggest bust in sports history.
While these sentiments may seem pessimistic at first glance, it shouldn’t necessarily be viewed this way. Rather, the realization should be that while Kobe’s absence may seem detrimental at this point in the season, the fact of the matter is that #24 can’t be around to bail out the Lakers forever. Even for someone as determined and physically resilient as Kobe, the end of the road was becoming undeniably visible for a man who has valiantly competed in the NBA for over seventeen years.
In light of this situation, Laker fans need to understand and accept the fact that a new era is dawning upon them. While there are currently more questions than answers as to how this inconsistent roster will be shaped and used come next season, ultimately the Los Angeles Lakers organization needs to prepare for an existence where Kobe is no longer the dominant leader. As blasphemous and disgraceful as this may sound to anyone who was watched the Lakers dominate with this man in the line up, we must find others who are willing to step up and become the new voice of unwavering encouragement.
If the Lakers are able to clinch a playoff berth then we will see some glimpses of potential candidates that will at least alleviate some of the concern as to how the Lakers will move on from this unthinkable loss. It won’t be easy, and will definitely be awkward from the standpoint of long time players who have become utterly reliant on Kobe’s ability to control the game both on and off the court. Nevertheless, if the Lakers want to continue being a reputable force to be reckoned with, then like it or not, someone must step up to the throne and have the courage to not only lead this team to continuous success but also to be an athletic freak nature that can single-handedly win game after game without batting an eye.
There is no doubt, that this is a tall order to fill, even for the most experienced and agile of professional basketball players. However, if the Lakers want to win then they must come together as a team and look in the mirror to realize that their long time security blanket is all but drained of all of us gifted luster. Whether it takes one year or ten, the Lakers, one of the most inspiring basketball organizations to compete in the NBA, will find a way to revitalize this crippled franchise come hell or high water.