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Kobe Bryant Gives Self 'F' Grade in Return

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to the media after a game against the Toronto Raptors on December 8, 2013 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2013

Kobe Bryant isn't happy with Kobe Bryant.

Vino played his first game since rupturing his Achilles on April 12 of this year, a return that was foiled by a Rudy Gay-less Toronto Raptors and subpar performance from Kobe himself.

When asked to grade his effectiveness against Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar gave himself an "F," according to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin. Self-deprecating evaluations didn't end there, either.

"Right now my form is a horse's a-- form," he said, per McMenamin.

It's easy to see where Kobe was coming from. He finished with just nine points on 2-of-9 shooting from the floor to go along with eight turnovers. It was just the second time in his career he was held to under 10 points while also committing at least eight turnovers.

Weird. 

Fittingly, that's another word Kobe used to described his return.

"I don't feel normal at all," he admitted, via McMenamin.

How could he? Nearly eight months passed since he was seen playing in a real game. Returning to the fray is bound to feel weird and foreign, hence the reason Kobe must remain patient.

The Mamba was never going to regain his form in his first game back. That would have been incredible, even for him. These things take time—especially this thing.

Achilles injuries can ruin careers. Kobe himself knows this. He too once questioned whether he could play on.

"As soon as the injury happened, I had doubts whether this night would ever happen," he told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

For the time being, it shouldn't be about points and turnovers. Rebounds and assists. Wins and losses. Kobe and the Lakers should just be grateful he's back at all. Patience is a small price to pay when the alternative was retirement.

When he could have vanished from the NBA scene altogether.

"And I got there," Kobe told Wojnarowski of his long-awaited return.

Indeed, Kobe got here, back into Lakers purple and gold and onto the court. Sometime soon, he'll be back into the swing of things. Individual production will follow suit. So too will Lakers victories.

Kobe will get there, just like he got here.

 

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