Let’s face it. Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant is up in age basketball-wise and he will soon be facing thoughts of when to walk away from the game.
Last season, he was clearly not the same player for his standards and that was mainly due to a gimpy right knee. He wasn’t as explosive, his scoring average dipped, shooting percentage dropped, and even didn’t practice as much in order to preserve his health for the marathon that is the NBA season.
So in hopes of repairing his knee and hopefully stave off Father Time, Bryant visited Germany to undergo an unproven procedure called platelet-rich plasma therapy. Now I won’t even dare to explain it in detail but as Ron Burgandy told Veronica Corningstone “It’s science.”
A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient’s arm and spun in a centrifuge for about 20 minutes to isolate platelets. With guidance from ultrasound, the platelets are then injected into the injured area to try to stimulate tissue repair.
“Right now, the data is immature,” said Allan Mishra, an orthopedic surgeon who administers PRP treatments and is an adjunct professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University Medical Center. “There is a lot of cool stuff going on, but I temper that by saying we have a lot more work to do before it is definitive.”
OK so Bryant probably dropped a pretty penny on an unproven procedure. Does this look like the picture of a player who does not want to face his own basketball mortality?
Bryant will turn 33 soon and yes, time is catching up with him. It happens to all NBA players and especially him. He has played well deep into the NBA playoffs throughout his NBA career and not to mention playing over the summer for Team USA in 2007 and 2008.
That’s a lot of mileage and punishment on his knees and it should not be a surprise to see him starting to wear down.
But basketball is his life. Can you blame someone wanting to prolong something they love and live for? I can’t.
So he undergoes this procedure and if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But it also won’t hold him out of next season – if there is a next season – due to some intensive surgery and long rehab after. And he was moving around pretty well this past weekend in the Philippines, so there’s that.
However, this is Kobe we are talking about. One of the ultimate competitors in NBA history. Knowing him he will channel talks of his on-the-court demise into motivation for next season.
“What I think about is shutting up those [people] saying that I’m done,” he said.