When the greatest superstar on the planet suddenly suffers a minor injury, the world suddenly stops, panics, and provokes a controversy as NBA All-Star weekend looms ever so closer.
He is Kobe Bryant, the sensational shooting guard of the Los Angeles Lakers. Within an entertaining association, the NBA is accustomed to witnessing magical buzzer-beaters as time expires, wondrous lay-ins and versatility.
Without calling forth the Great Debate between him and LeBron James, a marketing crusade Vitamin Water unleashed a year ago, including the silly puppet ads created by Nike, Bryant is the one athlete admired globally for his prodigious performance all done in a purple and gold uniform.
Since he’s the epicenter under the bittersweet lights of Hollywood, Kobe is bigger than the Hollywood sign, even the tour sites such as the Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Where he’s beloved in a town, basketball is an entertainment source in which fans are engaged to the defending champs. In a town where diversity barrens unity, the Lakers is an enthralling franchise that spreads conformity to a major city deprived of a pro football team.
For years, the Lakers have been the most beloved franchise not only because of their amusement, created by the global superstar, but because of their agenda in celebrating on Figueroa Ave., raise championship banners and bring felicity to an entire community.
Among all voters, the latest fuss garnering ridiculous attention is Bryant’s sprained left ankle, an injury limiting him to push off on the bummed ankle and unable to exploit and execute. He, of course, has tallied more All-Star voting ballots than the average athlete. Without his presence, the game seems dull and uninteresting, missing evidently the ultimate trademark of the NBA.
Maybe the die-hard fans and executives are jittery of NBA All-Star TV ratings and attendance descending. If anything, they are used to Kobe withstanding severe and minor injuries, so they expect him to start in the festivities this weekend. It’s a ritual he has followed in prior seasons, opting to endure pain and refused watching from the sidelines.
“I can’t move to play,” he said. “Can’t go. If I’m ready to go, I’ll play.”
Normally, Kobe falls to the floor and grimaces in pain a few seconds, then rises gingerly and hobbles off the court to the locker room, while Lakers’ fans hold their collective breaths.
But moments later, he emerges from the tunnel and walks near the scores table to check in. Come now, Kobe isn’t as invincible or a gutsy athlete, unwilling to play in a game honored by fans. Rather than damaging his ankle even more so, Kobe is smart if he rests during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Most would argue that he’s the ambassador of the league, while others clearly admit LeBron is dazzling currently. But the issue is now if he’ll participate in this weekend’s NBA All-Star game in Dallas.
There is, believe it or not, a risk if he decides to play after sustaining a critical injury, a significant blow that could jeopardize the second-half of the regular-season as well as a postseason quest and title repeat. Shouldn’t he rest to conserve health, and once the postseason begins he’s fully robust? Shouldn’t he have an unselfish empathy about teammates, coaching staff and the L.A. faithful? Absolutely.
“If I’m not able to play, I won’t play. But (if) I’m healthy, I will,” Kobe said.
Playing in a game that doesn’t count and only is based on popularity, is the least worry. By prioritizing, Kobe sitting it out gives someone else an opportunity to dazzle, but also gives him a chance to recuperate in time for the second-half of the regular-season. Teams are starting to finally deepen the intensity, instilling a competitive nature, counting down to April when the playoffs begin.
But as of now, Kobe is uncertain of his status after missing two consecutive games nursing the bad ankle. Gary Vitti, trainer of the Lakers, is monitoring the dynamic floor general, who’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz.
More importantly, Vitti urges Kobe to rest the ankle, a problematic injury that has bothered him since aggravating it last week against Charlotte when teammate Lamar Odom stepped on his foot.
He originally suffered the bad ankle sprain two weeks ago in Philadelphia, apparently a worst diagnosis than when learning he had a fracture index finger, a massive injury he has played through this season. People tend to forget that Kobe isn’t Goliath, exposed to a freak accident at any giving moment in which there isn’t much expected on Sunday.
“I don’t know what it’s going to look like on Sunday. I’m not a clairvoyant,” he said while laughing.
Even though the Lakers have a deep supporting cast and powerful depth to survive in two straight games, Kobe’s presence is needed come playoff time, when a magical last-second shot may save the entire series. But without Andrew Bynum and Kobe, the Lakers as a team boosted the intensity level and consistent.
Notice the Kobe Show was canceled, until he’s healthy again. Notice much of the population misses him this weekend, a lovable marketer and a consumer’s best friend. Notice his game is quite enticing, and the average basketball loyalist refuses to watch without him, while there are others envy of Mr. Amazing’s craftiness and finesse.
He brings excitement to the game, in which fans are raving and pleading that he’ll ignite a breathtaking show in Dallas.
You love him, you hate him. Yet, you’ll miss Kobe.
But it’s all for good health.