“I’m happy for him,” says Bryant, adding that Howard has a greater appreciation for the game now with basketball mortality fast-approaching.
Kobe looks back and wonders what the 2012-13 Lakers could have done in the playoffs had he not torn his Achilles tendon near the end of the season.
Per The LA Times:
“I’m happy for him because sometimes we don’t realize how much we love the game and miss the game until that window starts closing or it’s closed,” Bryant said.
“Then you’re like, ‘Oh damn, I really miss playing the game. I want another opportunity to show what I can do.’ Sometimes you don’t know if that opportunity will ever come again. For him, I really believe he’s appreciative of the opportunity and I think he’s going to make a hell of an impact because of the new appreciation he has for playing the game.”
After going 17-25 through the first 42 games, the [2012-13] Lakers went 28-12 and finished the regular season with a record of 45-37, earning the seventh seed in the playoffs. However, without Bryant they were swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.
“In all fairness, the second half of the season when I tore my Achilles, we had the best record in the league,” Bryant said. “We had to make things more contentious than I wanted to, but the object is to win. Unfortunately, I tore my Achilles and that sidetracked everything, but that second half of the season there wasn’t a team in the Western Conference that wanted to play us when we were healthy. Maybe things would’ve been different with Dwight if we were healthy and had made a run. Who knows?”