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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Kobe will not be the same player this season

Oct 3, 2013, 12:51 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

It’s one of the major story lines of this season: When will Kobe Bryant be back on the court for the Lakers? And once he is, how is a 35-year-old coming off an Achilles tendon rupture going to look?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says not to expect the same Kobe.

The NBA’s all time leading scorer was on CBS Sports Radio Wednesday and talked about Kobe’s injury, as transcribed by Ken Berger at

“It’s a rebuilding year for them because Kobe has been hurting and he has a very devastating type of injury,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a recorded interview that aired Thursday on CBS Sports Radio’s morning show with Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson. “I don’t think he will be able to come back as quickly and completely as he would like. It’s gonna be tough on the Lakers this year….

“When Kobe does come back, it’s gonna be a different Kobe and that will definitely effect the outcome for the Lakers long-term,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “… It’s gonna be a test for him this year, absolutely.”

Nobody who has ever watched Kobe would question his resolve and commitment to getting back to being the best player he can be. And there is no doubt that in the past few years Kobe’s game had evolved away from relying on his fading explosiveness to more about technique, footwork and IQ to get to his spots on the floor and get his shots. That will help him here.

But if he gets to those spots just a little more slowly, if the elevation is just a little lower, things will be that much harder for him. Defense also will be a challenge.

Kareem is right, Kobe is not going to be quite the same. He’ll still be good, maybe very good, but it will be different. How far that can take the Lakers (with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol) is the question.

  1. grapenutz08 - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Laker fans dont want to hear it. Kobe simply will NOT be able to get enough elevation on his fadeaway jumper (his bread and butter). The Kobe you knew is done tbh

  2. dirtydavis - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    IF Dominique Wilkins did it in the 80s. I have no doubt Kobe can do it in 2013. KObe will come back and average 28pts 5rbs 5ast a game

    • vi3tguy415 - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      nah that’s too much. more like 24pts 4.5rebs and 4.7 assts

    • antistratfordian - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Dominique Wilkins only had a partial tear. Kobe’s tear was complete.

    • skids003 - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      It’ll just take him about 10 more shots a game to get there. As long as his shooting arm holds up, he’ll get his numbers.

    • zoomy123 - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      When Wilkins injured his achilles tendon it was a partial tear not a complete rupture, he was 32 not 35, and he didn’t have 17 years of NBA mileage on him. Science > Kobe.

  3. chargerdillon - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Does that mean he’s going to pass the ball?

  4. money2long - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    i think the wrong form of affect was used in the 2nd paragraph of the quote.
    go lakers

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Technically, effect and affect can be used interchangeably. It is more common for effect to be used as a noun and affect to used as a verb, however. As in, you can affect change in a person, and that person will feel the effect of that change.

      • zoomy123 - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        Depending on the sentence you may be able to use “affect” and “effect” interchangeably, but the meaning of the sentence will be completely changed. Syntactically the sentence may be correct, but semantically the sentence will be changed.

        For example:

        1) The weather affected my cold.
        2) The weather effected my cold.

        The first sentence says the weather had an influence on my cold; presumably the weather made it worse.

        The second sentence says that my cold was the effect of the weather, i.e., my cold was caused by the weather.

        Both of the above example sentences are syntactically correct but semantically very different. And the same is true in the example sentence you gave.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 3, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        Zoomy… technically you’re right, but people are going to read “the weather effected my cold” as “the weather had an influence on my cold” regardless. You might thumb your nose at them, but perhaps our relationship with these words are in a state of evolutionary transition.

      • zoomy123 - Oct 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM


        Thumb my nose at them? LOL! Nothing about my comment implied that I thought less of anybody who used effect rather than affect in a sentence when it was required, or vice versa. This is a basketball blog, who cares? I was just pointing something out to adamsjohn714.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        you pointed out something to be that I already knew, and articulated far more clearly than you did.

  5. jabronikid - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    he’s just hoping Kobe won’t get over his scoring record, like MJ #protectinghislegacy

  6. ranfan12 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Of course he wont be the same player. He’ll be better LOL

    Gotta love that optimism

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