Lakers Kobe Bryant watches the game during first half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 8, 2015. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )
The possibilities seem endless for Kobe Bryant, the Lakers’ star keeping all options regarding his future open in case he can delay Father Time from defeating him again.
Would Bryant play beyond his current contract that ends after next season? Perhaps. Does Bryant want to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics to secure a third gold medal? Sure thing. Could Bryant even extend his basketball elsewhere overseas? It’s a possibility. First, he has to prove he can stay healthy for the entire 2015-16 NBA season, something he has failed to do for three consecutive years.
But well before Bryant will navigate that treacherous course, former NBA star and TNT analyst Charles Barkley offered biting skepticism. The commentary both illustrates the challenging question marks Bryant must answer and the unfiltered opinions Barkley often offers.
“His best days are behind him,” Barkley said last week on Sirius XM Radio. “I hear these fools on TV, talking about, ‘Kobe’s going to get healthy.’ Old people don’t get healthy; they die. Old people don’t get healthy. Father Time is undefeated. … You can get in great shape in the summer, because you’re playing against air. Air doesn’t hit back.”
That prompted a discussion Wednesday night on Time Warner Cable’s Access SportsNet where host Chris McGee, analyst Dave Miller and I offered our own two cents on if Bryant can prove Barkley wrong. Bryant sure things he can, tweeting, “My reaction to critics is the same as my reaction in the vid #excuseme.” Bryant then linked to a video where he paid no mind two years ago to a Milwaukee Bucks mascot unexpectedly moving in front of him.
But both Miller and I offered various variables that make this offer complicated. How much will Bryant rest in practices on back-to-backs? Can Bryant defer more to his teammates? Will either of these approaches even ensure he stays healthy? Watch here for more, including Miller successfully getting me to flinch at a basketball nearly being tossed my way, something Bryant refused to do against Matt Barnes five years ago.
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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at email@example.com