It seems as though Kobe Bryant’s career and the word "decline" are being mentioned more and more in the same sentence these days.
While there is no doubting Kobe is no longer in the prime of his career, it may be too early to start expecting much of a drop-off in No. 24’s production.
Here are five pieces of evidence that refute the “Kobe’s in decline” theory.
After reading this article, all of the Kobe fans out there should be ready to take a collective sigh of relief.
Sure, it’s hard to put too much stock in an exhibition game, where there is no guarantee the players are giving it their all.
On the other hand, Kobe Bryant outplayed his contemporary superstars quite convincingly. Bryant finished the game with 37 points and 14 rebounds, being named the game’s MVP for the fourth time in his career.
There is no denying Kobe Bryant has had his fair share of bangs and bruises the last couple of seasons—whether it’s been his finger, foot or knee.
Kobe, being as competitive as he is, has missed very few games with his injuries.
This has many wondering how long it will be until the combination of Kobe’s age and his nagging injuries catches up to him.
Kobe may have been wondering the same thing.
Earlier in the summer, Kobe went to Germany to have an experimental procedure on his ailing right knee.
Assuming this procedure works, Kobe’s body could feel as fresh as it has in years.
Everyone knows if Kobe’s body is at full strength, it could spell danger for the rest of the league.
For the first time in three seasons, Kobe Bryant did not play in the last game of the NBA season.
Kobe has been able to enjoy an extended break from the game of basketball for the first time since the 2007 offseason.
Obviously, we are all hoping the lockout ends as soon as possible, but Kobe could have even more rest to help all those nagging injuries.
On any note, whether the lockout ends before the season begins or numerous games are lost, Kobe should be more rested than he has been in years. This has to make Lakers fans smile, right?
After their embarrassing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals, the Los Angeles Lakers will go into next season with something to prove.
Not since being defeated by the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals have the Lakers felt this much pressure to prove themselves.
Given Kobe Bryant’s competitiveness and drive to win, he will take the challenge personally.
Hopefully the other Lakers will follow his lead. If they do, people may find out Kobe and the Lakers are not ready to be put out to pasture quite yet.
It seems as though because the Los Angeles Lakers had an ugly, surprising exit from the playoffs, people assumed Kobe Bryant had a subpar season.
In 2009-2010, the season the Lakers won their second consecutive championship, Kobe averaged 27 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. Last season, Kobe averaged 25 points, five rebounds and five assists—in five less minutes of playing time. Not too much of a drop-off.
Also, Kobe was named to his ninth All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team.
When one takes into consideration the aforementioned extra rest, knee treatment and extra motivation, Kobe's overall production shouldn't see too much of a drop-off going forward.