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Kobe Bryant says he tried to ‘pull the tendon up’ to keep playing following Achilles injury

Sep 15, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

When Kobe Bryant suffered the torn Achilles injury that ended his season, it happened near the end of a game in which the Lakers were trailing by two with just over three minutes remaining, while needing every win at that point just to have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs.

Bryant heroically managed to limp to the free throw line and sink two foul shots following the injury — shots which he personally ranks among the best of his career.

But he tried to make it so he would be able to play even beyond that.

Speaking at Nike headquarters in Oregon on Friday, Bryant explained what was going through his mind moments after the injury took place.

“When I first did it, right there, I was trying to feel if the tendon is there or if it’s gone,” Bryant said. “I realized it wasn’t there. I was literally trying to pull the tendon up, so hopefully I could walk and kind of hobble through the last two and a half minutes and try to play.”

Obviously, that sounds insane. But it’s just another example of the incredible mental and physical toughness that Bryant has shown throughout his 17 NBA seasons.

  1. ninthwardfriend - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Trying to push his legend like his “air Jordan”.

  2. mytthor - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Even if this injury doesn’t end Kobe’s career, it will eventually end. And Kobe has a lot of haters, both because he’s a Laker and because he’s not the most pleasant person at all times. At different times in his career he’s been petulant, arrogant, and immature. He’s alternately tried to cultivate a personality where everyone loves him, and later embraced his role as a villain. Depending your views on what happened in Colorado, he’s either an adulterer or a rapist, or somewhere in between.

    But you’ll miss him when he’s gone. And 30 years from now when your kids are talking about some NBA player who’s tough and competitive, you’ll laugh at his choice, and launch into a story about how YOU saw Kobe Bryant play ball.

  3. abchome - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:14 PM


  4. namriverrat69 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Say what you will about Kobe. There is not other player in his generation that has played with and through the number of injuries that Kobe has. It seems like every year it is something else. Other players sit out but Kobe wants to win and pushes himself as every good leader should. He has a tremendous work ethic.

    Now back to hockey, the season starts in about 3 weeks. Can’t wait.


    • kb2408 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Ok, I only gave you half a thumbs up. This Pro Basketball Talk, hockey talk is a little lower.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:37 PM

        I also can only give half a thumbs up, but it’s because the Ducks are the better SoCal team.

    • philly21583 - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      I disagree. You said of his generation but there’s one name that comes to mind when you talk about guys of his generation that have played through injuries like it’s nothing. Allen Iverson! Say what you will of him but you can’t deny that he didn’t have heart and he played through plenty of injuries. I know he’s not playing now but you did say during Kobe’s generation.

  5. namriverrat69 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    My bad – I missed the mistake in the previous – There is no other player . . .


  6. kb2408 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Of course he did, would anyone expect anything less of the Black Mamba?! Arguably the most dedicated, and driven athlete the league has ever seen. LAKERS fans, and NBA fans, should cherish every moment we have left to watch Kobe play. Very few players have ever loved the game the way he does.

    • topdawg4ever - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Sorry, but I’d Jordan is STILL the more dedicated and driven. By far.

  7. detectivejimmymcnulty - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Respect the hell out of Kobe. Doesn’t play the way I like, but you have to respect the man’s will.

  8. rickyspanish - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Sometimes I wonder if Kobe missed his calling as a Green Buret or Navy Seal. What if already was a super soldier and they use a hall of fame basketball player as a cover? There’s a black helicopter headed towards my house, should I be worried?

  9. northstarnic - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Of course everything he says is true. Why, you’d have to be insane to even think about questioning this story!

  10. krazytrane - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    He showed what a tough guy he is when he raped that girl and then paid her off so she wouldn’t testify in a criminal case against him… What a tough S.O.B.

  11. balfe13 - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Heroically? Easy there, buddy. Impressive? Yes. Inspiring? Sure. Heroic? Ehhhhhh…

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      I hope this doesn’t inspire DIY surgery.

    • topdawg4ever - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Agree completely. Compared to those serving out country- not even close.

  12. crazyfootballfun - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Kobe has it mixed up. When you have a complete rupture of the achilles ( i have ruptured mine twice in the past yr), the tendon snaps and moves up…they have to go get it and pull it DOWN. Walked on mine for 5 months after, so it is possible, but playing his level of sports…no way.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      that sucks. Do they put dead people’s achilles tendons in you as part of the surgery? A buddy of mine has two ACLs from 2 different corpses. It’s always seemed strange to me.

  13. glennreiser - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    I respect and admire Kobe Bryan, but please let’s stop with the BS. Anyone who has ever torn their achilles tendon knows that it’s impossible to do what Bryant claims he tried. Is it possible to “pull up” a broken rubber band so that it’s mended again? That’s what an achilles tendon is – it’s a rubber band. Give me a break!

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