Kobe Bryant has today insisted that, should the Lakers make the call to shut him down at some point this season, he will not fight their judgement - even if it goes against his nature.
There has been speculation that this could be Kobe's final year in the NBA and as such you would think that being told to sit on the sidelines for it's latter months would be unthinkable. Circumstances however may prevail.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott spoke on the subject this week, telling reports that if the franchise find themselves out of playoff contention come March he would consider sitting Kobe, and the 16-time All-Star confirmed he was willing to tow the party line.
Speaking in the aftermath of the Lakers' 109-102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kobe had the following to say on the subject:
"I will do what they ask of me, but it's very, very hard for me to miss one game.
"I'm not going to be here much longer, so the games that I play, I want to make sure that I'm playing and enjoying it and appreciating it."
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In all likelihood Bryant will honor his contract with the Lakers and play out the 2015-16 season but with injuries having curtailed his recent game time in the league it would be a brave man who told him that he had to sit out the back end of a season that, in all intents and purposes, he was fit to participate in.
At 36, Kobe Bryant is no longer the 82-game dependable feature of the Lakers lineup. His minutes have been reduced already this season and, as well as barely practicing, the coaching staff have seen fit to sit Bryant for the second game in back-to-back match ups.
A younger Kobe wouldn't have stood for such bold decisions but even the competitive future Hall of Famer appreciates that no one can out-run father time.
"Seriously, I understand," Bryant said.
"I understand. It's my responsibility to be ready every single night and when I step out there on the floor to give it my all. If they want to shut me down, if they decide to sit me out, I will do what's asked of me. It's that simple."
The Lakers (12-28) are unlikely to have postseason aspirations going into the tail end of the 2014-15 season. If shutting down their main man means he can come back for a swan-song ending in 2016 then even the most ardent of Lakers fans must appreciate the policy.
What do you think Lakers fans? Let us know in the comments section below...
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