“Who else but Kobe Bryant could do this??”: When the Black Mamba channeled his inner Larry Bird to switch hands mid-game after a rotator cuff injury
Kobe Bryant was one of the best scorers of all time – he could do the job with either hand, much like Larry Bird.
Usually a right-handed shot maker, Kobe Bryant was a weapon for the Los Angeles Lakers when he played. But when he played the New Orleans in 2015, the Black Mamba tore his rotator cuff mid-game. He had a notorious reputation for playing through pain and injury, and this time was no different. After hurting his shoulder attempting a dunk in the third quarter, the game was done when he walked off.
After ice packing his shoulder, he made the decision to switch hands during the game. The only other person who actively was known for “saving” his preferred hand was Larry Bird of the Celtics. Famously known for switching hands to make sure he had his dominant hand ready for the Lakers. The rivalry between the Celtics and the Lakers was at an all time high, and that gamble paid off.
While Kobe did not have a game like Larry did, taking only 2 shots after checking into the game in the 4th quarter. The game was effectively done and dusted by the time he came back in, but that did not deter him. The sheer force of his determination was enough to make everyone everyone sit up and watch. He made one, air balled the other. This did nothing to turn the game for the Lakers, but it was great to see a 36 year old put in the effort.
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were down bad towards the mid 2010’s – for a while the looked like they were heading to be the new Knicks
Kobe and the Lakers were terrible in the mid 2010’s. They were effectively a lottery team, with a injured giant like Bryant. The team had players like Robert Sacre and Xavier henry, a stark contrast from the championship winning team just five years ago. Their last attempt to salvage their momentum was the poorly built 2012-13 “super team”.
When that failed, the purple and gold had to go into full rebuild mode, and when a giant team like LA has to do that, one can only think of the Knicks and their attempts to get back to the top. For years the NY Knicks have tried to get back to the very top, but all they could muster is a lousy 1st round playoff appearance in the past 10 years.
Luckily, the free agency of LeBron James could not have come at a better time for the Lakers. While they had to trade off their young core, they got back to winning a championship. This season however seems to be repetition of the 2012 team based on how poorly the roster has been constructed. They have struggled a lot this year, failing to beat OKC twice, and almost never being more than a .550 team. They could very well even not make the playoffs, considering the way they are playing.
Kobe Bryant would not be happy with the team have been playing this season, especially with several underperforming players like Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan on the roster. His struggles back then are very much akin to what LeBron is going through now.