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Kobe Bryant: ‘I don’t jump as high as I used to … I’m not as fast as I used to be’

Sep 3, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

James Harden says he expects Kobe Bryant to play like the 20-year-old version of himself next season.

That might be the most ridiculous thing Harden has said this offseason (and there are other contenders).

Not even the most delusional Kobe fan believes Kobe, who’s 36 and played just six games last season, will ever return to that level of athleticism. That’s because Kobe himself acknowledges as much.

Kobe:

I can say, ‘I want to be able to jump as high as I used to. I want to be able to be as fast as I used to.’

No, I don’t jump as high as I used to. That’s OK. I’m not as fast as I used to be. That’s OK, too.

I’ll figure out another way to do it.

Kobe, to his credit, knows his body extremely well. He’s also human.

It would be nearly, if not completely, unprecedented for a player Kobe’s age and with his injury history to get more athletic.

And Kobe knows this.

That’s why he’s studying Paul Pierce. The day Kobe needs to adjust his game is not in the distant future. It’s here.

Is that a depressing thought? Hardly. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what the smart and crafty Kobe has in store – and so is he. As he says in the video:

I’m more motivated now than ever.

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