Usually at this time of year, Kobe Bryant is stepping on the hardwood, determined to add another championship to his legacy. He is showing off his love of the game with his unmatched competitiveness. He is solidifying himself as one of the greats in part because of his uncanny footwork.
These times are different.
With the Lakers ending their season two months ago with their worst record in L.A. franchise history, Bryant has done something else to feed his competitive fix that basketball currently cannot satisfy. Bryant stepped on the pitch and participated in some pickup soccer at an event surrounding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, as shown in the video below. He appeared to get into some rhythm after spending the past two months training amid fully healing his left knee. Before and after this game, Bryant fed his competitive juices by watching a handful of World Cup games.
For those looking at this video for signs on how Bryant will bounce back next season, do not put too much though into it. Yes, he looks mobile, healthy and strong. But stiffer tests await once Bryant plays full-court basketball, appears in an actual game and then tries to navigate the grinding 82-game schedule. Still, it appeared Bryant enjoyed the moment even if he would rather be on a basketball court right now hoisting another Larry O’Brien trophy.