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Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant speaks during a press conference before the 2014 NBA All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers' Kobe Bryant aware he's no longer same player

It doesn’t matter the player, anybody playing professional basketball at 36-years-old will be facing an uphill battle. Add in that said player came into the NBA early at age 18 and has played nearly three full seasons of playoff games and that’s a lot of tread on a body.

That’s something Los Angeles Lakers star and NBA icon Kobe Bryant is facing and something he’s also well aware of.

Most who have suited up for nearly 1,500 games would likely be ready to hang up the sneakers for good, but few have the competitive drive of Kobe Bryant who believes he has a few more years left in his aging knees. Of course, he’s very well aware that he’s not the same player he was at 28 and knows there are limitations to his game. But Kobe doesn’t believe the decline in ability will make him any worse of a player.

“So when I hear pundits and people talk, saying, ‘Well, he won’t be what he was.’ Know what? You’re right. I won’t be. But just because something evolves, it doesn’t make it any less better than it was before,” Bryant said.

The biggest issue facing Kobe Bryant currently is the return from injury. How will he bounce back? Most would likely struggle given his age, however most don’t have the tenacity of Kobe Bryant who seemingly was obsessed with his rehab, possibly at an unhealthy level.

Hard work has seemingly paid off for Kobe though as he’s looked incredibly spry and healthy this offseason and while he isn’t the same player we once knew, he’s still an elite talent.

Tags: Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers

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