Kobe Bryant: Is Father Time Knocking at His Door?

Hayden KimCorrespondent IIIOctober 29, 2010

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 13:  Kobe Bryant #24 (L) and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers run onto the court before their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95. 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.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After playing, 37 minuets against the Houston Rockets, Kobe finished with a respectable 27 points also adding to the field five rebounds, and seven assists. All in all, it was a good start for a recovering Kobe.

It looked as though Bryant was playing more as a facilitator, than a scorer, and honestly that usually works out for the better of the team.

Kobe asked the media, "Do you really have to worry about me finding my shot?"

It almost seems silly to begin questioning arguably the best player of all-time, but reality is slowly showing us that father-time is starting to knock on Kobe's door.

The 32-year-old superstar is beginning to feel the natural effects of aging. During the off season, Kobe had surgery on one of his knees, but it hasn't seemed to bother him on a dramatic level...yet.

The obvious keyword is yet. It's hard to believe that Kobe is already 32 years old, but it's starting to become more visible in his game. Kobe doesn't seem to have the same lift on his shot as he used to have and his style of play is becoming more and more like that of Jordan's, towards the end of his career.

Kobe's knee is forcing him to rely more heavily on his I.Q. and less on his athleticism. This is what makes Kobe a great player. He has adjusted more and more each year and it's showing.

Only a couple of seasons ago, Kobe told the media that he had been working on his bank-shots and now, it has become one of his many diverse moves.

What about this season? Like I said before, he is coming off knee surgery, and for someone like him, a knee injury can't come at a more worse time in his career.

Kobe's game has relied on his athletic ability, mixed in with a whole lot of skills. No one is going to question his work ethic and I guarantee Kobe worked harder than any other player in the league during the off season, but will his body be able to hold up until late June?

"It doesn't matter, it depends what happens at the end of June. That's the only thing that's real important."

Ron Artest couldn't be any more correct. Who cares if Kobe isn't "Kobe," the whole season. We all know Kobe will always flip that switch and will hit that next gear when it comes playoff time.

Bryant just needs to stay healthy, "enough." If he can manage to play at his usual high-level and also continue to motivate and lead this Laker' team to the final once more, there is no reason to question his health.

As a die hard Laker' fan, I will stubbornly deny that Kobe has a knee problem, and I will continue to view Kobe as if he was still in his mid 20's.

But Charles is right, "There are two things you cannot beat, father time and Las Vegas Casinos."

The bottom line is, only time will give us a true indication of whether Kobe really is on his way down the hill, or if Kobe still has a couple years up his sleeve. The question is, do you believe in Kobe?

Because I do.