You would think everyone would have learned by now that under-estimating Kobe Bryant is not a very logical thing to do, because he continues to prove everyone wrong.
People said he couldn't win a championship without Shaq; he went out and did it. People said that when he broke his right index finger in 2010, that his Los Angeles Lakers were done, but Kobe led his team to a Finals win despite the finger.
People said that at 34 years old, in his 17th NBA season, that Kobe couldn't perform at an elite level. But in Kobe's last seven games, he has averaged 28.9 points, 8.4 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and one block. He did all of that while playing nearly every minute in every game. They said he'd never come close to Michael Jordan, but he is definitely the closest thing to "His Airness" that we've ever seen.
Bryant has proven people wrong his entire career. He's used to it. That's what he's done. He is often referred to as the ultimate competitor. So it is safe to assume that Kobe will do everything in his power to come back from this injury stronger than before. And when Bryant puts his mind to something, it gets done.
Not only does Kobe's will factor in to his chances at returning to full strength, but so does the story of Dan Marino.
1994 was Dan Marino's first season back after tearing his Achilles tendon, and many doubted his ability to return to full strength. They thought that such an injury would prohibit him from being the player he was before. But the 33-year-old Dan Marino rose to the challenge and threw for 4,453 yards and 30 touchdowns. He won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, and played for five additional seasons at a high level.
If Dan Marino can make a glorious comeback like that, there is no doubt that the Black Mamba can.
But for those of you doubting Bryant and saying that he will never come back, or that he will never be the same, then be prepared to be proved wrong once again.
"It's fueling me," Bryant said to ESPN. "I can feel it already. Players at this stage of their careers and then they pop their Achilles and they say they're never going to come back the same. I can hear it already."
"'If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear.' I've always loved that quote." Bryant said on Facebook, "Thats 'Mamba Mentality' we don't quit, we don't cower, we don't run. We endure and conquer."
Bryant will return to his former dominance. If there is any doubt in your mind of that, or you aren't one of the ones that believe in him, then consider changing your mind. Or be prepared to regret it.