Since Oct. 29, there has been constant speculation about when exactly Kobe Bryant would return. Well, he’s back. On the Los Angeles Lakers official facebook page, the Lakers and Kobe Bryant announced he’s coming back to play basketball on Dec. 8.
Incidentally, Dec. 8 is also the birthday of someone named Dwight Howard, the man who opted to leave the Lakers due to a perceived inability to get along with Bryant. That’s obviously just a coincidence, right? Only Bryant truly knows, but he was not so quick to forget the last big man who left his side.
When Bryant met with reporters on Thursday, he said he would not be traveling with the team to Sacramento. He explained that he was going to take part in a few extra training sessions: one more on Thursday night and two more on Friday.
Well, by Friday at 1:05 pm, the Lakers took to social media to post a video of a hanging no. 24 jersey with ominous and heroic music playing in the background. “Season of a Legend,” the video starts. Then, a no. 24 Lakers home jersey is tested against the elements: snow, rain, wind, etc. After about a minute and a half of abuse against the snow, rain and the like, the jersey splits down the middle—obviously meant to signify the torn Achilles suffered on Apr. 12.
Then, the sun shines through the tear, and the no. 24 shirt looks like new. The film approaches the end with “the Legend Continues…” written on the screen. The final frames display the date of the return: “December 8.”
And what about Sunday’s opponents, the Toronto Raptors? Well, Bryant once scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. Now, he will start the final chapter of his career against those same Raptors at that same arena.
Back then, Bryant wore no. 8. It seems ages ago, though, and Bryant’s career has hit such peaks that no. 8 feels like it already sits in the rafters.
Well, he’s back. No. 24 is back. “Kobe” is back. “MVP” is back.
The Lakers are back.