Charles Barkley made headlines last week when he said that Kobe Bryant should sit out the rest of the season after suffering a fracture in his left knee. It appears that LeBron James was listening. Maybe.
After Wednesday’s Christmas Day game, LeBron was, of course, asked about Kobe and his injury. Not only did James think that Kobe would return to a high level, but he also described anyone who suggested that Bryant should sit out the rest of the season as “stupid”.
via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:
[pullquote]James even made a point of going over and hugging Bryant during Wednesday’s game, then defending him in his postgame comments.
“I’ve been hearing about people giving their stupid opinion about what he should do,” James said. “He’s not going to sit. That’s not him. That’s not in his nature. He’s an alpha male. He’s going to get healthy, and he’s going to play the game that he loves and has been playing forever.
“When he gets back, he’s going to play at a high level. With him, I expect nothing less than greatness. Obviously we all get older each and every year, but the caliber of player he is, he can go out and put up 20 every night if he wanted to.”[/pullquote]
Well, that’s going to put a damper on the imaginary Kobe-LeBron rivalry that was cooked up by the fans.
While there possibly could be benefits to Bryant sitting out the rest of the year – e.g. he’ll give his Achilles’ tendon longer to get stronger, the Lakers will probably lose more and end up with a better draft pick – everybody, including LeBron, knows how competitive Kobe is.
As soon as the Black Mamba is ready to roll, he’ll be back out on that hardwood.