The flashes of brilliance are now far and few in between, as 19-year veteran Kobe Bryant trudges through what are presumed to be the final two seasons of his remarkable career.
Bryant showed that he can still play at a very high level Thursday night, dishing out a career-high 17 assists in a 109-102 loss to the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kobe was asked about head coach Byron Scott alluding to a possible shutdown in March; Bryant wants to keep playing, but promises not to fight the organization if they ask him to sit.
Per the LA Times:
“It’s a tough one for me. I want to play,” Bryant said. “But at the same time, I understand his position, I understand management’s position. I will do what they ask me.”
“I’m a huge Kobe fan. I love the way he approaches the game. It’s great having him in the league,” LeBron James said. “Last year it wasn’t as great, just not having him out there. He’s a big part of what we all do.”
“I think he’s dealt with it extremely well. I think he understands he’s still a hell of a basketball player, but he’s not what he used to be,” Scott said. “He can’t play 40 minutes a night. He can’t play four out of five nights. […] The maturation of Kobe Bryant is starting to understand who he is, but he also wants to play and go out on a high note. He doesn’t want to limp out. That’s one of the main reasons we’re doing what we’re doing right now.”