Kobe Bryant has consistently challenged the odds throughout his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, from being 13th in the 1996 NBA to being the best player in the game. He was ahead of his body while he seemed unable to keep him up.
Bryant often beats the schedules of his various wounds; sprained ankle, broken fingers on the hand, ball to the right shoulder or knee to the shot. Of course, there came a time when Bryant's firm determination to stay on the ground was no longer sufficient.
A torn rotator cuff, a left knee fracture and an Achilles tear finally combined to mark the beginning of the end of the five-time champion. And when we almost talked about a career, there were nights when Bryant did not play.
It has become a popular trend in the NBA's current culture, with Joel Embiid, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, among others, strategically held all night long. This is an approach that Bryant said he could not afford, Frank Isola of Athletic:
"The only time I stopped a party was when I could not walk." Kobe Bryant said that he would never have opted for a "load management" at LeBron.
In defense of James, he expressed the wish to continue playing. And although he recently missed games because of the load management, James recently missed out because of a sore left groin he forced on Christmas.
In Leonard's case, the Toronto Raptors have been aware of his workload and use this season, having just finished a year lost to a quad injury.
While this may sound critical, Bryant's commentary is just one more example of the stubbornness and determination that has led him to become one of the greatest players in the NBA.