Circle the date on your calendar, but use pencil, because nothing is set in stone. If we're interpreting Kobe Bryant's cryptic tweets correctly, though, he could be returning to action on that date to help take down the Memphis Grizzlies.
It all started with this enigmatic tweet:
And from there, speculation has run rampant, producing two completely distinct theories about the Mamba's eventual return from his ruptured Achilles.
Rob Fisher, Fox's sideline reporter for the Grizz, sums up one of the prevailing schools of thought:
It makes sense, right?
The Los Angeles Lakers have been planning on unveiling their new jerseys against Memphis on Nov. 15, and that date has been referred to as a "blackout" due to the unique—well, unique for the Lakers, at least—color scheme of the "Hollywood Nights" jerseys.
As for the second part, that's a little bit more obvious.
Grizzlies are bears, and Kobe is always on the hunt when he plays basketball. He hunts for points, shots and victories, no matter who the opponent may be. Plus, "bearhunt" just sounds better than announcing he's going to return against the New Orleans Pelicans and calling it a "pelicanhunt."
That wouldn't have been nearly as cryptic.
Now, some people are running with this way too fast. NextImpulseSports.com's Ronald Haraka wrote the following, for example:
Think about it. Honestly, looking back it seems pretty obvious and silly that we couldn’t figure this one out from the beginning. Kobe Bryant is clearly eying a November 15th return against the Grizzlies. We can’t wait.
Woah, woah, woah. Slow your roll. There's still another theory that we have to get to.
As the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus suggests, this could all be motivational and in reference to Kobe's intense workout program. After all, the Mamba himself has referred to the first portion of his workout program—a segment that includes offensive drills, cardio and weightlifting—as "blackout."
You can see Kobe talking about it below, via Pincus:
OK, fine. But what about the "bearhunt" portion of his cryptic tweet? That can only refer to the Grizzlies, right?
Wrong, says Pincus:
The hashtag "#bearhunt" is likely a callback to the day after Bryant was injured. Opening up on Facebook early that morning, Bryant quoted a Jay Z lyric (from the song "I'm On the Rock," by Mavado), 'If you see me in a fight with a bear, [pray] for the bear.'"
And you thought there was going to be an easy answer here. Hah.
Whether you're on Pincus' side and believe that Kobe is referring to his workout or Fisher's side and think that he's targeting a Nov. 15 return date, the news here is undeniably positive. A return date speaks for itself, but a ramped-up workout program is good news as he fights to return from this devastating injury.
Ultimately, we just won't know until Kobe decides to let us in on his secret. And when has he ever wanted to do that when he can toy with the media?
Here's hoping that the Mamba eventually slithers his way onto the court at the Staples Center, suiting up to play without even announcing that he's going to return that night. The roar would be deafening, and the entire NBA would be in for a treat.
Maybe it'll be on Nov. 15. Maybe it won't.
Your guess is as good as mine.