Last night Kobe Bryant made it back to the court. The Los Angeles Lakers guard stated he was “pleased” with how his body was able to move after playing in his first NBA game in close to eight months since tearing the Achilles in his left leg. However, this was still a 106-94 defeat versus the Toronto Raptors.
“I’m just insanely critical,” Bryant stated after finishing with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and eight turnovers in 28 minutes. “There was a bunch of things that I completely messed up on.”
YouWager experts learned that when asked to grade his performance, the 35 year-old player gave himself an “F.” And when asked if he had been “reborn in a new form,” he responded, “Right now my form is a horses— form.” Bryant was particularly down on himself for being responsible for such a hefty portion of the Lakers’ 19 turnovers which led to 22 points for Toronto.
Bryant, who was playing with four teammates – Wes Johnson, Shawne Williams, Nick Young and Xavier Henry – for the first time ever in a basketball game, also added that it is a matter of both adjusting to the new personnel as well as the game speed and pressure brought on by an opposing defense.
“My rhythm is completely out of sync in terms of being able to read passing lanes and judge the timing of players in between those lanes and so forth,” Bryant stated. “But I guess it’s a start. I guess a start is good.”
The team’s coach Mike D’Antoni, who trotted out his eighth difference starting lineup of the NBA season — adding Bryant in the fold – through the Lakers’ 10-10 start, expressed he could change things up again. The most likely candidate to be replaced is Robert Sacre, who had just two points and one rebound in 10 minutes in just his second start of the basketball season.
Bryant said his experience being back in uniform was “weird” and added, “I don’t feel normal at all,” said his own self-assessment won’t end with his nearly 20-minute long postgame news conference.
However, things weren’t all negative for the Philadelphia native. Bryant said he was “proud” of the intense rehabilitation he underwent in order to return.
The star player added he became emotional just before tipoff thinking about all the support he received during his comeback. Bryant even cracked a big smile when asked about the Staples Center public address system playing Darth Vader’s theme song from “Star Wars” when he was introduced during the starting lineups.