Kobe Bryant celebrated his 37th birthday on Sunday, as the Los Angeles Lakers legend approaches his 20th season in the NBA. A day earlier, though, the real news broke when Bryant shared a picture of his smiling face inside the gym with the caption "First day back on the court shooting!"
Bryant's 2014-15 season ended prematurely due to a torn rotator cuff that eventually resulted in surgery. After a long road to recovery, Bryant finally received clearance to do what he does best: shoot the basketball. A little over a month away from the start of training camp, the "Black Mamba" will surely set his sights on a trip to Hawaii for what could be his final training camp ever.
According to Lakers coach Byron Scott earlier this summer, Bryant had focused on strengthening his lower body with lunges and other traditional workouts while restricted from shooting. Considering his previous two injuries had been a ruptured Achilles and a fracture in his kneecap, Bryant extra work on the lower body could pay dividends when the season gets underway.
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Beyond the on-court news, Bryant also took a moment to present singer Taylor Swift with a banner at Staples Center late Friday night. Swift received the honor for the "Most Sold Out Shows" at Staples Center, which obviously led to a multitude of Laker fans pointing out that Swift has more banners at Staples Center than the LA Clippers, whom also call the arena home. That joke may have been sitting in broad daylight, but it still elicited a chuckle.
Back to Bryant and basketball, judging by the smile on display, the 37-year-old's favorite present had to be a return to shooting on the court. Considering it signifies that Bryant could be ready to go on opening night of the 2015-16 season, this is one gift and smile the 37-year-old can share with all Laker fans.