Blogtable: Kobe’s Comeback




Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Western Conference showdown | Eastern Conference showdown | Kobe’s comeback


Kobe is Kobe, we know, but he just blew out an Achilles. What can we expect out of him? When can we expect it?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: I’m thinking 22 ppg and about 48 games for the Mamba, mostly from January on. Bryant might be a medical marvel and certainly surgical and rehab techniques are radically better than even five or 10 years ago. As a not-so-patient patient, Bryant figures to be the anti-Derrick Rose, rushing back to the court ASAP at the far end of his career. Given all that, though, this tendon is called the Achilles for a reason – it was and is a pretty big deal. If Bryant thumbs his nose entirely at the traditional recovery time, he won’t just end up in medical journals, he’ll be rewriting Greek mythology.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (Cameron Browne/NBAE)

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: You just answered your own question.  Kobe is Kobe.  Few in the history of the league have had his drive, his determination,  his rip-your-heart-out-and-eat-it competitiveness.  Go ahead, doubt him if you will.  I’m not.  He’ll be back to his old self sometime after the All-Star break, because, well, Kobe is Kobe.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the Internet. I mean who knows? Every bit of info coming from Kobe is that his rehab is way ahead of schedule. I think it would be foolish of him to rush back to make opening night if he’s truly not ready, and I’m not sure if you can truly trust Kobe to make the right call. Lakers longtime trainer Gary Vitti might have to tie him down in the locker room if that’s what it takes. At 35, can Kobe come back full steam ahead? I have no idea. But I do know that if anyone can, Kobe can.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comI expect that he will defy the odds of when he returns. But I also expect that he will be a 35 year old coming off a major injury after already conceding he was in a losing battle with Father Time. The return will be in November, probably on the early side, followed by a process that probably includes minutes restrictions and possibly limitations on back-to-backs for a while. Then, Kobe will be good on will alone. Maybe not 2012-13 good. But still good enough to make a big impact and give a disgusted head shake to anyone who made the mistake of counting him out.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comI expect him to exceed whatever the normal expectation is for someone coming off Achilles surgery and to play at a level that is not reasonable for almost any other player of his ilk, and that’s due mostly to the fact that his recovery seems to be progressing at a rate that makes no sense. It’s Kobe, for Naismith’s sake. You know he’s not going to let this Achilles injury finish him off. I know there has been talk of making a miraculous recovery and being back in time for training camp but even Kobe has some limitations. I suspect he’ll be ready for full contact action by Thanksgiving and ready to resume his regular duties running the Lakers (on and off the court) by Christmas. Feliz Navidad Lakers fans.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: How’s this for a bold prediction: Kobe plays 82 games, averages 24 points per game, and the Lakers make it to the playoffs. OK, so that may be an outlandish prediction, but I don’t think we can ever set the standards too low for Kobe. He has made clear that he strives for perfection, and we know that applies to his injury rehab as well as his play. My prediction is unlikely, sure. But I learned long ago that if you’re going to count on anyone, count on Kobe.

Akshay Manwani, NBA India: He’ll be back, at training camp, for sure. This is the Mamba we’re talking about. If he has to will himself through a wall, Kobe will do it. And I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t average 25-plus points right through the season and remain among the elite scorers in the league in 2013-14. Whether the Lakers will be better, even with Kobe tuning in at an All-Star level, is, however, another question altogether.

Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: It’s Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest competitor ever, we’re talking about here. He’s a man on a mission: showing the world he’s still Kobe Bryant, one of the best player ever. And that’s exactly what I expect him to do. I think he’ll be on the court when the Lakers will face the Clippers on opening night, even if he’ll probably play limited minutes. But I expect him back to his usual Black Mamba (or Vino) form by the end of November. He’s Kobe, after all

70 Comments

  1. Jimbo says:

    Wow, a lot of stuff flying around here. First, ivica, if you can do the same physical things at 35 that you did at 25 you are either a medical miracle, or not in good shape at 25. Physically the body peaks at about age 25… and its downhill from there ! (Kobe is not exempt). To kobeballhog, I laughed when I first read your comments… then I thought about it, and you are probably close on every stat (little exaggeration on points and turnovers), but close. Kobe at 35 will not be able to perform even as he did at 30, let alone return from an injury as serious as an achilles. The result for the Lakers will be another disappointing season with a few ups and mostly downs. If they make the playoffs (7th or 8th seed) they will lose in the first round. Moral of this story: Kobe will come back to play and collect his $30mil+. Lakers will fade into the sunset and return with increased seat prices to pay for ballooning salaries for players who don’t even gel together and couldn’t win a first round series even if they make the playoffs. So please, dispense with all the mindless dribble about how great kobe is and how the Lakers will win one more title for him… ain’t gonna happen !!!

  2. kobe ballhog says:

    kobe will be pretty much back to normal I’d say his per games stats will be…

    35 pts
    1.9 ast
    4.4 reb
    1.3 stls
    0.4 blk
    30% fg%
    8 turnovers per game

    Ballhog is the way baby!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Yep.

      More like:

      17 PPG (even if he ballhogs).

      D’antoni has to limit his minutes, which will limit Bryant’s PPG. Otherwise, if he overplays him again, Bryant will face major injury again.

  3. ivica says:

    listen, I am 35, I am running, riding my bike, weightlifting and swimming and I am doing it the same way I did it 5-10 years ago.
    what I wanna say is, there is no reason why Kobe would not be able to do the same, at the level he is used to..

  4. Bigdaddy J says:

    The comment about Kobey copyiny everything MJ did is absolutely ludicris. MJ copied everything Dr. J did. Go back over some Dr. J films and see for yourself Even down to his jump from the foul line slamdunk contest winning dunk. Check your facts before you start making comments about copying.

  5. D.cook says:

    We all know Kobe is coming back. For real for real, the dude is on a mission to prove to himself and the world watching that he’s the best ever. He needs two more rings to out do Jordan,and that’s why he is still hungry.So look forward to seeing Kobe bounce back from this ordeal, and do what he does on a consistent basis.

  6. Kobe fan! says:

    Kobe is Kobe. He’ll be back. I can say that the expectations are still high, since he’s a living legend and that, there is a chance that he may not meet the expectations, yet. He will and he can still carry the team. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Though its just a motto or whatever you call it, Kobe will take it seriously. One more ring!!!!!

  7. 2G I.E. LAKERS says:

    I remember back when all the NBA was looking for who would be the next Michael “AIR” Jordan. Penny Hardaway, no. Grant Hill, no. Allen Iverson, no. Name anybody, NO! No one in The NBA has even came close to what MJ did but….. Kobe “BLACK MAMBA” Bryant. It’s too early to even put Lebron “King” James in the discussion until at least his 4th ring. 2 more to go but if you ask even LJ, he’ll tell you those 2 he got didn’t come easy. The me 2 will be even tougher.
    Now Kobe has night in and night out quieted the haters. They said he would never get a ring after Shaquille “Diesel/Superman” Oneal left the Staples Center. Kobe not only got one but 2. They said Kobe was a ball hog and called him everything under the sun but God’s child. Kobe has done so much for my Lakers organization that regardless however he comes back I will just be glad to see him on in that Purple & Gold amazing the world again.
    Get well Mamba, we need you.
    And before I go, for all you Laker haters, which franchise and player of that franchise has the most rings in the 2000s? And for the King James band wagoners, how many teams will Lebron join so he can be in the conversation of being better than Kobe then Jordan. Thee was only one person Kobe had to catch up to, James has 2.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Kobe Bryant only has maybe ONE legit World Championship.

      He was like Robert Horry and was at the right place at the right time. Without Shaq, minus 3 World Rings.

      The other 2 NBA Championships? Fixed and rigged.

      • Historian says:

        Kobe like Horry? Tee her her! U are funny man! Penny had Shaq. Where’re his rings? Was Scottie like Horry too? Was Worthy? And since Worthy got one of those MVPs in the finals, was Magic! like Horry too! U need to let it go. By the way, the Deadliest Snake Known To Man told me to tell u he’s sorry if its about what happened with him and ur lady. 😁

  8. Daniel Evans says:

    That’s my boy Kob anyone knows their body.. So I think he’s ready and the Lakers are ready..

  9. sports fan says:

    I don’t expect Kobe to be 100% but maybe 80-90%, which is still really good. Kobe will play as if it’s his last hurrah & try to get the Lakers to barely make the 8th seed because there’s a really good chance he’ll retire at season’s end.

  10. kobe84 says:

    MJ is Magic Johnson.

  11. Gnob says:

    Yeah boy.. Kobe is so competitive, I think that’s the reason why he’s recovery is going way faster than it normally should. Go for sixth Mamba!!!

  12. J says:

    HEY!!! nba.com why cant I do a middle click scroll down (on the mouse) on hangtime articles only main page is fine please fix it its not my mouse

  13. J says:

    kobe will be pretty much back to normal I’d say his per games stats will be…

    24 pts
    4 ast
    5.9 reb
    1.3 stls
    0.4 blk

  14. Jimmy Buckets says:

    KOBE IS DONE…sorry

  15. Why the hate? says:

    Kobe copied MJ, so what? MJ copied someone else, someone else copied someone else who puts a ball through the hoop. Not a smart way to compare skill. What you do and can compare are the jewelries. Jordan is great for a reason, so is Kobe, and so will many future mega stars. LBJ will smash record in his own right but as a forward not a shooting guard. LBJ and Kobe can’t be compared by skill but what they bring to the game. If and probably when LBJ gets 5 rings, then we start comparing his legacy versus Kobe’s legacy. The truth is no one can doubt that Kobe’s legacy in the game isn’t legendary. He earned his status as one of he best, just as MJ has, and what LBJ will earn. Stop hating on the man, respect his game, respect his stats, respect the grit to win. The one with the last laugh is usually Kobe, you know why? Because he can put the ball in the net at the last second and win the game, like he always does. Kobe, I will see you on opening night.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Robert Horry has 7 rings.

      I guess that makes him better than Michael Jordan, according to your logic.

      HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      He rode Shaq’s coattails. He can’t carry a team like Jordan did. Not even close.

  16. razvangry says:

    I really hope that Kobe will be the next Lakers head coach, after he retires, in some years, hopefully, more than 3

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      That would be hilarious.

      • Historian says:

        Dude, did Kobe man ur wife or som’n? What’s fueling this rage? U a raptors fan(81)? Or a mavericks fan(62 in 33mins while Dallas had 61 in 36mins)? Or maybe ur team got caught up in that 4 game stretch when Mamba scored 60,50,60,52? Good news 4, though: he only scored 47 the next game, in which LA lost after winning the aforementioned 4 games! So when Lebron or KD or ANYONE else ever does 2k numbers like that, then I’ll be impressed again! Otherwise, watching the things Kobe’s done over the years has made it hard to get excited about these also-rans. U ain’t hatin so hard because he’s NOT good? If so, we’d be debating about Eddie Curry, Kwame Brown, etc. U even went as far as to say John Starks! Could be compared to MJ, but Kobe couldn’t?…………….:::…..Right. Because we all know about all his 50,60, and 80pt games. Ur right. Kobe can’t be compared to MJ. Cuz not even Mike has had the all out unexplainable performances that Kobe has. Need more stats? Just let me know.

  17. brandon says:

    So why did MJ himself say that KOBE BRYANT is the only player that deserves to be compared to him? Kobe is just that good!

    • lol says:

      well Kobe is the only one comparable to MJ cause his style of play is so similar, MJ was a way better and more efficent player, Lebron is gunna be the number 1 when he finishes his career or at worst the number 2 behind MJ…Kobe cant touch those 2 he is a hard worker but he doesnt have their talent

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      When did MIchael Jordan EVER say that? You Laker fans are silly. Soooooooooooo, MJ is definitely comparable to other hall-of-famers, such as Bird, Wilt, Payton, Magic, Oscar Robertson, etc.

      In fact, I believe I recall (during Jordan’s playing days) that he stated Mitch Richmond was one of the toughest SGs he ever had to play against. You can also add many more competitors that can be compared to Jordan, such as Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Horry (7 rings), etc.

      Then there’s dunk contests with incredible dunkers like Dominique Wilkens.

      The list goes on and on and on.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      BTW (just to point out a couple more examples), Karl Malone will always be better than Kobe Bryant. Allen Iverson will always be better than Bryant. Ray Allen (all-time 3-point leader) will always be better than kobe.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      It’s very difficult to truly compare Kobe Bryant to MJ when Bryant NEVER competed in College. MJ did and was excellent.

      That’s why when Bryant was a rookie and sophomore in the NBA, he completely stunk. MJ was brilliant immediately when he joined the NBA.

      Michael Jordan is WAY BETTER than Bryant ever was or will be. Bryant is not even close to Jordan.

  18. matthew mathis says:

    WE ALL KNOW IT WILL BE BETTER THAN JORDANS. LOL

  19. Pilot mathias says:

    Nothing bad on copying good things from great guy.because even MJ had a person who was his role model.but Kobe is Kobe and MJ is MJ.forza KOBE.

  20. Kimmy says:

    Kobe is not the best player in the world. Kevin Durant is. Lebron James is the best player in the galaxy. I agree with the article, and the general comments: Kobe is the hardest working player in the NBA. He is professional and basketball is obviously his life . I believe he will strive to make a comeback as early as possible, but agree w/ the writers that about Christmas time he will be ready. The sad part is, he will not be seeing a ring w/ the Lakers. They are finished. He should consider going to another team, a winning team, like OKC. But he is the face of the Lakers adf probably won’t even consider that. Kobe is kinda old school thinking, I respect him for that. Best wishes to him this year and in his speedy recovery.

    • Lakers-Warriors-Suns. says:

      You do realize this galaxy includes Earth right? So your statement is invalid. BTW all of your comments have been B.S.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      He won’t be ready until March 2014. Or maybe Summer 2014.

      Even if uses PEDs like his buddy, Alex Rodriguez.

  21. erwin says:

    Lots of Haters I see…… Many people couldn’t appreciate Kobe’s game because their team lost to LA before and now they’re bashing him because he’s not in his prime. Go Hate people! One thing is sure, he will be a Hall of Famer and you will still live your miserable lives………

  22. John Ready says:

    The doubt that what pushes him. He probably would have been out of the league hadn’t people provided motivation after the early playoff / Utah series snag. P.s All 24 fans thank you all for the oblivious scouting reports that have lead to over 31,000 points, 5 rings and infinite obstacles being knock down. Black Mamba go out there and do what you do until your ready to leave the game.

  23. lol says:

    Kobe is overrated…forget about his 5 team achievements, his indivinduall numbers and efficency tell us that he aint in TOp 10 players of all time and will never be even if he plays until hes 45 and gets 40k PTS.

  24. vesko1901 says:

    Kobe is the best player in NBA and not only there. He is the best in the world. No matter how old is he! No matter! Yeah, it is truth that the age says its word, but we know Kobe, do not we? He will come back and will display us what he can do on 34. But one day (maybe after coming season) he will leave the court and then what? What is NBA without player, who gives everything from himself every time when he is on the court. What NBA will be without Kobe? Some of you will say that there is players like Lebron James and Kevin Durant. Yeah! It is truth that they will show us incredible plays, but can they do that what Kobe did? No, they can not! Because Kobe is a legend! But I bealive that Kobe will show 100% of himself in the coming season! I hope that he will add more one ring in his collection, but probably it will be the last season for him : ( I will really miss a lot him!!!! HE IS THE BEST!!!!

    • kek says:

      okey, lebron wins 5 rings and he has done what kobe did, and some more MVP`s than kobe has, So I think KD and lebron can do what kobe has done with their carrers.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Best in the world? Really? Really? Really? Really? Really?

      That’s why he almost cost TEAM USA the Gold Medal in 2012 Olympics.

      Best in the world, you say? Yeah, right.

  25. Rabih Habib says:

    Kobe is kobe…but rushing this coz he has a big heart will cripple the couple of good years he still has in him.
    I say be smart…listen to the doctors…and get stronger.
    Late this season he will great…anf will stick around for a few more years to dazzle us…but if he plays it only by heart…he will end an amazing career that is far from over.

  26. PC3 says:

    Also Kobe Has Always Tried 2 Hide That His Team Is Better W/out Him So He Will Try not 2 Let Ppl See The Team Gel W/out Him..If U ever Notice That Everykind Of Injury He Always Down Plays It & Says He Will Play..Alot Of Experts Think This Team Will Be Better Off w/out Kobe When #D12 Was Their Except In The Playoffs ..The Lakers Need 2 Move On W/ A 35yr ball hog & Out Of All The Players On The Lakers Pau Gasol is The Only1 who Accepts Kobe(BallHogging) BC hes A Good Guy Lacking Mental Toughness

  27. PC3 says:

    Only Laker Fans Want 2 See Kobe He s Washed Up & not As Great As LA Portrays Him..Kobe Has Copied Everything MJ Has Done So Ppl Perceive Him As Good As Him Not Buying it..But Kobe Deffentialy is A Warrior I Do Respect That Playing Through Injuires

    • Zan Buchan says:

      did you actually capitalize every word? was that in an attempt to somehow validate your worthless statement

  28. Pilot mathias says:

    This gonna be kobe’s tym to shine, because he time is now .but he must wait to be completely well so that he can come back with commanding power down to the court, get well soon fella to help lakers in title race

  29. Pilot mathias says:

    This gonna be kobe’s tym to shine, because father time is no longer with him.if he miss this tym he won’t get more time to shine,but he must wait to be completely well so that he can come back with commanding power down to the court, get well soon fella to help lakers in title race

  30. PC3 says:

    D Tony Will Welcome A Hurt Kobe Which Will Be At 70% So He Can Hurt Him Again NBA Should Fine These Guys Who Allow Him 2 Get Back On The Court..Kobe Is Trying 2 Break The Scoring Record Most Points Ever Thats Why He Was Trying 2 Get His Points & Not Worry About Winning…LBJ has Been The Best Player Now For The Last 5 Yrs Lets Move On Kobe In My Opinion Is #Overratted

    • Wow... says:

      Kobe Bryant is NOT overrated. The man has earned all the hype he deserves. Also, what’s the point of the hashtag? This isn’t instagram or twitter; this is NBA.com.

      • farty pants mcgee says:

        he is a bit overrated, agree with the hashtag thing though, really dumb

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        Yeah, but lots of people use twitter, including Sekou Smith and Kobe Bryant.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        @farty pants mcgee

        Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, by your logic, you’re calling Sekou Smith and Kobe Bryant really dumb.

        Correct?

  31. John Rebori says:

    If there’s one thing Kobe loves! It’s negativity! An he wants too at least tie Jordan for rings! He will get it done cause thts his motivation an it will be great seeing him host another Championship!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Lakers shouldn’t have been in the playoffs last season; they cheated to get in. FACT!! Unbelievable that Lakers or cheating refs didn’t get in trouble for rigging Laker games last season. NBA is SOFT. They need to be more strict like the MLB to keep the games fair. Keep cheaters like the LAKERS from cheating again.

      When Kobe retires, that will be the best thing for the Laker organization. Lakers can finally rebuild for the future with Kobe not taking half their salary cap anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Also as a sidenote, Kobe may be pretty popular … but NBA purists know better. He’s done. Fired. He’s also very unpopular with lots of people, including Dwight Howard (who left because Bryant ballhogged too much). I love how that FACT isn’t addressed in mainstream media … much. Howard left L.A. mainly because Bryant ballhogged too much.

      This Mamba character should be getting the following stats last season and future: 13 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.8 APG.

      Because he thinks he’s still a superstar, it lead to the downfall of the Laker franchise; he is the biggest MINUS ballhog in NBA HISTORY. FACT!! This is a TEAM GAME. When a mediocre (at best) NBA ballhog overachieves, he becomes a MINUS player to his TEAM, as evidenced by last season’s Laker downfall and self-destruction. They should move the franchise to another city, because they will likely be the worst team in the West Conference for a VERY LONG TIME.

      I know some of you NBA.com writers are big Laker fans, but did you not learn ANYTHING from last season????

      The Lakers are DONE. LAKER D will be nonexistent without Howard.

      Kobe will likely come back from injury too soon and reinjure himself when their coach overplays him again. Then, he’ll probably have to retire. He’s like Allen Iverson; he will refuse to play NBA anymore, if it will hurt his stats.

  32. Ran says:

    Kobe will be back, and he will be better than ever .. Why?
    Because he wants to add another ring to hes collection … And If an actor as great as Kobe narrow states such I believe it will happen .. And in addition do not forget that he’s one of the best players in the world.. if not the best ..

    • Pat Brown says:

      Kobe is the best player in the world. He will be back better and stronger than ever. This is Kobe Bryant.

    • farty pants mcgee says:

      he’ll have to sign with the heat thunder pacers or bulls to get number six

  33. lakers says:

    What is the NBA without kobe?…….NOTHING…..nba will have a major decrease in fans and tv ratings when kobe retires.

    • e says:

      There’s a guy named LeBron James, you know? And another named Kevin Durant. Why are Kobe fans always so wrong about everything?

    • Bigmatta23 says:

      Hopefully you go when Kobe goes. What a ridiculous statement. The NBA survived Chamberlain retiring, Bird retiring, Magic retiring, DR J, Jordan etc etc…the sport is bigger than any one individual.

      • Kei says:

        Oh, I don’t think Nba never coped well when MJ retired, the first time he did the nba finals was an all time low with Houston vs new york, the second time he retired, it was a lockout season. The third time he retired, the nba finally is in good hands of KG, Iverson, Carter, mcgrady, O’neal, Dirk, Nash, Francis(all players considered good/great at that time) etc. There’s a reason he comes back so many times.

    • Winston Wynne says:

      stop dreaming dude, where’d you get that information? NBA is full of star players, one more champion of another team and your kobe is done. LOL, as what i’ve said keep dreaming!

  34. Simba says:

    Either Kobe’s rushing his rehab or the injury was never as serious as it was portrayed to be. Kobe is amazing with his ability to play through pain and do things at 35 that people at 25 can’t do. However this is his Achilles tendon we’re talking about. Given his track record it wouldn’t be shocking for him to beat the 10-12 month standard rehab period but to be running 3 months after surgery either means he’s pushing his foot too much too soon or he was never injured. I’m more inclined to believe it’s the former and just hope it doesn’t result in him re-injuring the Achilles and potentially ending his career altogether.

  35. Winston Wynne says:

    Kobe will be back, but don’t expect the best from him. curtain is slowly going down for his career, There are more great players on his way. LBJ and KD for sure!