Kobe Bryant was one of the most decorated NBA players of all time. He was almost unguardable, led numerous championship teams, and was known for his incredible toughness. Even so, as with all stars, he did get injured from time to time.
The following article looks at the ailments and issues Kobe dealt with during his career. He didn’t get hurt a lot, but he did have a few significant ailments that setback what was otherwise a legendary career.
Kobe was a workhorse in every sense of the word. Not only did he manage to avoid injuries, but he played through more than a few too. He was known for pushing through the pain. While that’s not as widely accepted in today’s league, it earned him the reputation as a warrior.
The legend played in the NBA for 20 seasons. Of those, he started in 70 or more games for 11 of them. Not only that, he played in 80 or more games for six seasons and he played in all 82 for four. That’s a lot of games, especially when compared to a lot of modern superstars.
Playing in all 82 games is something that never happens anymore. Even great players tend to sit out for ten or so games each season. Kobe had the drive, toughness, and passion to keep going back each and every night.
That being said, the legend did have his share of setbacks. He didn’t mind going in on a sprained ankle or with a few bruised ribs, but he had more than a few seasons where he missed a lot of time due to one issue or another.
A Slew of Minor Setbacks
Kobe came into the NBA out of high school. That was a show of his raw talent, but it also gave him an edge when it came to injuries. The Lakers weren’t afraid to rest him when they needed, but his younger frame bounced back much more easily than it would have a few years later.
Still, he wasn’t invincible. After going three seasons without any big issues, he missed 15 games in the 2000 season due to a fractured metacarpal.
Then, going into the new millennium, things got more tricky. Those years were the best run of Kobe’s career, but he sat out quite a bit compared to previous seasons.
He missed games for a range of reasons, including a swollen knee, a lacerated index finger, a sprained shoulder, a sore foot, multiple ankle sprains, as well as bruised shin. Even so, most of those issues only took him for a few games. The most he missed at one time was 14.
He did undergo knee surgery during the middle 2000’s, but took care of his issue in the offseason to minimize his missed games. For almost a decade he never had to miss a significant amount of time.
The Later Years
As with so many athletes, age eventually caught up to Kobe. He spent a lot of years managing to avoid serious surgery or big-time injuries. However, during 2013 the other shoe finally dropped when he had to fix a torn Achilles tendon.
He only played in 6 games that year, and then only played in 35 games during 2014. Though he did get 66 games during his final season in 2015, there’s no doubt that age wore Kobe down and exacerbated issues he previously ignored.
Every player gets hurt, even the greats. Kobe may have had one of the best careers of all time, but it might have been even more special if he’d managed to avoid getting injured. It didn’t slow him down, however. It was just another obstacle for him to eventually overcome.