Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Kobe8Fan on Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:23 am

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By Adrian Wojnarowski

PHILADELPHIA – These trips home make Kobe Bryant his most introspective and nostalgic, deepening his understanding that the years are passing so fast now, time slip, slip, slipping away. He had gone back to see familiar faces in the leafy suburb of Lower Merion on Saturday, back to the high school where Gregg Downer still coaches the town's kids. Everything washed over Bryant this weekend.

"It's kind of surreal now, driving around, going to the same pizza place I went when I was 17," Bryant said outside his locker on Sunday night. "Where the hell does the time go?"

Seventeen years ago, Kobe Bryant was 17 years old and preparing for a prep-to-the-pros move that still seemed such a leap of faith. He has come back to this city and won a championship, been buried with boos and almost always used Philadelphia as a benchmark for how far he had come and still has to go.

At 34 years old, Bryant had been brilliant on Sunday night with 34 points, six assists and four rebounds. When the Lakers substituted him out with a minute left in a 111-98 victory over the 76ers, something strange happened here: In the Wells Fargo Center, most everyone stood up and cheered for Bryant.

As much as anything, perhaps they had come to admire one of Bryant's greatest gifts, an ability to wear everyone else out, grinding them down, defying the passage of speed, strength and agility.

"He really seemed to be taking it all in and cherishing it tonight," Downer told Yahoo! Sports. "He was waving to fans, more interactive than usual. He knows he may be back only a few more times."

In Bryant's mind, maybe once more. The possibility of retiring when his contract expires in 2014 still looms large in his mind. He's weary of the toll that his rigorous workout regimens take on him. It isn't the winters that wear him out, but the summers.

Kobe Bryant scored 34 points in the Lakers' victory over the Sixers. (AP)For Bryant, it took discipline to spare himself the sluggishness that always comes with eating a Philly cheesesteak on a trip home.

"It's a lot, a lot of work," Bryant said. "My competitive spirit comes from like every little inch, your body is slowing down, the younger guys are passing you up. It really keeps me on edge."

The Lakers are slowly, surely recreating themselves under Mike D'Antoni, awaiting Pau Gasol's return to practice on Monday and, perhaps soon, the true arrival of Steve Nash. The Lakers need Nash to connect everything and everyone here, need a thread to run through Bryant and Dwight Howard, Gasol and Metta World Peace.

Bryant doesn't want to handle the ball so much, and he understands that changes when Nash steps on the floor. Within the locker room, Nash has made it clear that he has no desire to score the ball for these Lakers. He's running D'Antoni's system, and playing traffic cop between Bryant and Howard.

Nash gives Bryant the ability to play off the ball, to get his points in different spots on the floor, different ways. Pushing past 30,000 points for his career, Bryant makes no apologies and no concessions for his ability, his love, to shoot the basketball. The ball moved crisply on Sunday night, and Bryant scored his 34 in a most efficient way. Across the past six games, Bryant has delivered at least 30 points a game – something only Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had ever done after turning 34 years old.

"It's like the super heroes," Bryant said. "Superman could fly. Spiderman has his webs. Steve can pass. And I can shoot."

It is still too early to count out these Lakers, to suggest Howard's mobility won't fully return, that Nash won't find a way to integrate Gasol into the offense, that Bryant won't stay on this torrid offensive spree into the springtime. These Lakers have a long, long way to go until they're championship caliber, but it won't be long again until they're whole, until they're a problem for everyone in the Western Conference.

Bryant received a rare warm ovation from the fans in Philadelphia. (Getty Images)Near the end of a tough week back East, near the end of a nostalgic weekend in Philadelphia and a spectacular Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center, Bryant sat with his knee wrapped and his two feet deep into a bucket of ice. Nash sidled over to his locker, passing Bryant two basketballs and a sharpie to sign for a friend.

As he scribbled his name on a ball, Kobe sighed and said to Nash, "We're old cats, man, old dogs."

Nash responded, "But we've got a lot of tricks, though."

Together, they laughed, and soon Bryant was on his way to the showers, the bus and a cross-country flight back to California. Yes, he had stopped to consider all the basketball that he had played since leaving Lower Merion High School, and the preciousness of what still awaits with what's left of his career. He had such a spectacular Saturday driving through that picturesque little town in the suburbs here, stopping to see his old coach and the kids on the team and even an old pizza joint.

On the Lakers' bus ride to the airport, Bryant would email that, "I go back every year to remind myself where I come from."

Where the hell does the time go, Kobe Bryant asked on Sunday night. Mostly, though, he seems to wonder: How much is left?


http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--phill ... nM-;_ylv=3
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby KBJelleyBean24 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:54 am

I'm serious when i say that I'm going to cry when that man walks off the court for the last time :man6:
I should get an assist for that. It's an intentional pass to oneself, so it's an assist. That way people can't say all I do is shoot.
-Kobe on passing the ball to himself off the backboard.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Jazzygirl205 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:52 am

:man6: When he retires everyone's going to miss his as an athlete. All the people wasting time still nit picking him as a player and a person are gonna say "Man I missed watching him play" but it'll be too late because he'll be done.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby ZenMaster4President on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:40 am

The last true warrior.
Pau Gasol yesterday morning when asked about Dwight Howard: "I haven't called. Calls are expensive."
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby 432J on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:53 am

ZenMaster4President wrote:The last true warrior.

this. he truly is the last of his kind and it'll be one sad day when he hangs them up for good
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby denimPortugal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:12 am

ZenMaster4President wrote:The last true warrior.

:bow:
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby kenzo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:36 am

I'll be crushed the day he retires :man6: Im a Lakers fan since i was 8 but i feel emotionally tied with Kobe, i grew up with him, damn time flies :man5:
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby DuddlyDoRight on Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:55 am

KBJelleyBean24 wrote:I'm serious when i say that I'm going to cry when that man walks off the court for the last time :man6:


I don't know if Ill cry, but Basketball will never be the same, I won't have a team to watch, I wont have the reason I started to love basketball in the first place.
NO EXCUSES FOR DWIGHT "I WHINE AND MOAN ALL THE TIME" HOWARD
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Lakerjones on Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:27 am

denimPortugal wrote:
ZenMaster4President wrote:The last true warrior.

:bow:


^^ For real. He truly seems to be the last of his kind, the true warrior.

And I agree with everyone, it's going to be a truly sad day when he bids the NBA goodbye. I still think Kobe can play another 3-4 years as long as he has a great team around him and is willing to adapt and defer more. He can't continue to do what he's doing now, playing 40 plus minutes a game scoring 30 or more. That's craziness. But it shows you how a superb athlete with the highest skills can seemingly beat father time. As mentioned, guys like KAJ and MJ were able to do it as well.

I'm truly hoping that the return of Nash, the improvement in Howard's health and Pau coming back to form and health will allow Kobe to keep going with less burden and he will be more efficient again like he was earlier this season. Playing alongside great teammates is the key.

Unfortunately I think playing under a GREAT coach would also extend his NBA career, and D' Antoni's system seems to run totally counter to that. It seems like D' Antoni is content to run him into the ground. That's another reason I can't stand this hire. It impacts Kobe's ability to keep going long term. I'd much rather have him able to stretch his career for 3-4 years than burn him out by 35. No wonder he's waxing all nostalgic right now. The way he's going he won't have enough energy to finish out his current contract.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby therealdeal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:52 am

I can't wait to watch this man's career come to a close. Not in a sad way, but in that I'm going to treasure every last game he plays for this team and I can't wait to see what little tricks he's got left.

I mean for goodness sake he's developing his game even in his 17th season. Anyone notice the amount of hook shots he's taking this season? Throughout all of last season he took 9 and made 6. He's already taken 6 this season and made 4. He's made it a part of his game because he can't elevate the same way he used to. Now he's got to get the ball over the top somehow.

Truly incredible. I just hope we can get him 1 or 2 more rings before he's gone. I don't want to see him holding on past his abilities though. I don't want to see him as a number 2 option ever again.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Finwë on Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:15 am

Every post in this thread, +1
"The first time I ever saw my uniform hanging in the locker I put it on right away, and it just felt like I was putting on golden armour. From that day forward, I just called it 'the golden armour', it just felt like there was something mystical and magical about it" - Kobe Bryant.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Tragic on Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:05 am

ZenMaster4President wrote:The last true warrior.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby jlkr on Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:27 am

I've been saying it for a few years now: treasure this time watching him. There isn't much time left for that. One year, maybe two at most. A telling comment is him talking about the amount of work it takes to maintain his A game. Seems I do not remember him ever taking that tone about the work he does. Time flies ... Don't forget Nash was also drafted in 1996. If they somehow overcome all this to make it to the Finals, I don't care if they win or lose there, they will have shown the oldest backcourt in the league still has a few tricks left.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

--Robert Frost
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Center Court on Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:47 am

People are always going to credit Magic and Bird for "saving the game" and Jordan for taking it to new heights. But IMO it is Kobe that has bridged the gap between the unlimited talent of the new generation vs the dedication/passion/edge/hardwork of the previous generations.

Players today are so much more talented... Faster, better shooters, better passers. They get paid too much to do too little. But it was the older generations who played like warriors. No $100MM contacts, no major endorsements. They were just dedicated, physical, and relentless. LeBron sure as hell isn't cut from the old cloth. He's a entertainer. Kobe, well he is a true basketball god for how much he worked to get where he did. He was willing to give it all away to prove it. He was willing to walk away from Shaq and taking all the scrutiny that came with it if it meant he could be his own man. And in a league where star player can't wait to link up, Kobe was the last of a dying breed.

I think guys like Bron, KD, Westbrook, Melo, and now Dwight have have got a taste for what ultimate success takes. If best player in the world will get up at 5 am to practice, it can't help but rub off. SOmething they all saw in the Olympics. So while he may never get the glory for helping to instill unyielding hard work in a generation and future generations of supremely talented players, I am happy to have witnessed it. The league is a better place forever thanks to Kobe.

I hope we can watch him get one more. On the same front, Nash too.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby trodgers on Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:54 pm

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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Magic Skywalker on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:49 pm

I hate this kind of threads...

After the game against Philly I was talking with some people about the same thing real mentioned. It's impressive that a 34 year old guy who is on his 17th year is still developing his game. Trying to be the best like if he was a rookie, yet having a a veterans experience.

He's not one of those guys who never gets injured, yet he plays more than some of those guys.

We have to enjoy watching every remaining minute in his career, because these great times won't be coming back.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Battle Tested20 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:04 pm

On the surface I will always follow and love the Lakers to the day I die, but deep in my heart and soul it will never be the same when Kobe hangs them up and a part of me will die. The perfect words I can come up with in how I think I will feel when that time comes when he is done is lonely and emptiness.

Sure it will be a celebration of his career and time in this league, much like it should be a celebration when a loved one passes away, but everything Kobe has done in this league and time with the Lakers has really been so much more than entertaining and amazing me throughout all of these years. Whether it's a good thing or bad thing Kobe in how he's tackled the NBA through his career has really shaped who I am as a person and especially my internal competitiveness about certain things in my life. It may sound silly to some, but its really deep and psychological the type of things I've some what added to myself in the way I watch him work at his craft.

I believe we all also cherish him even more because Kobe hasn't always been the best "person" in the planet. We all have flaws and we all have done things in our life that we regret or are not proud of. It's that climbing back up to the mountain top type analogy that we all reference in how Kobe's overcome a lot of criticism that he both deserved and hasn't deserved.

When it's all said and done and when I'm an old man and I have kids or grand kids of my own I will just be so proud that I'll be able to tell them about the time I got to meet and watch one of the greatest players to ever play the game from his rookie year to the day he retired. My kids will ask or wonder, "well, what made his so much better than the players that play today?" And I'll just smile and say Kobe was the Last True Warrior
Last edited by Battle Tested20 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Maluco Beleza on Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:06 pm

he can still play another 5 years come on kobe....
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby magic2kb8 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:03 pm

DuddlyDoRight wrote:
KBJelleyBean24 wrote:I'm serious when i say that I'm going to cry when that man walks off the court for the last time :man6:


I don't know if Ill cry, but Basketball will never be the same, I won't have a team to watch, I wont have the reason I started to love basketball in the first place.


I will definitely still have a team to watch. I was a laker fan before Kobe and I will remain one after, but he is definitely my favorite ball player of all time (he even surpassed magic in my eyes) I remember watching him in the Utah series when he chunked up air balls, when eddie jones was afraid to take the shot in clutch moments. I said to myself."This kid is going to be a baller!"
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby gcclaker on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:25 pm

The Philly fans were warm to him? :man4:
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby 432J on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:03 pm

gcclaker wrote:The Philly fans were warm to him? :man4:

apparently

i found this shocking too
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby Battle Tested20 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:08 pm

gcclaker wrote:The Philly fans were warm to him? :man4:

The Philly fans left, all those fans were Lakers fans
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby caliown on Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:38 pm

Blessed to be a Laker fan a root for one of the greatest of ALL TIME. Truly blessed. Thank you Bean. Thank you sir.

And I will always find it pretty cool that my birthday is the same day as Fish and two weeks before Kobe's (same yr). Oh yeah, and Magic's is on the 14th.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
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Re: Philly Visit Leaves Kobe Pondering His Past – And Future

Postby lakersin4 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:54 am

caliown wrote:Blessed to be a Laker fan a root for one of the greatest of ALL TIME. Truly blessed. Thank you Bean. Thank you sir.

And I will always find it pretty cool that my birthday is the same day as Fish and two weeks before Kobe's (same yr). Oh yeah, and Magic's is on the 14th.
Haha.. Kobe scored 81 on my 21st bday.. Kinda made up for the fact that I was home on my 21st bday. I really hope he sticks around longer than he's saying he will.. Rooting for this team won't be the same for me.
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