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Kobe Bryant Achieved The 8th Seed For The Lakers And Averaged 45 Minutes Per Game Despite Tearing His Achilles In The Last Six Games Of 2013

Kobe Bryant Achieved The 8th Seed For The Lakers And Averaged 45 Minutes Per Game Despite Tearing His Achilles In The Last Six Games Of 2013

Kobe Bryant is considered by many to be the greatest Laker that ever was, and a large part of that is the sheer effort and determination he showed in carrying the Lakers as far as he could, even when the team around him wasn't the best. Kobe's later years after the three-peat with Shaq are filled with stories of him taking over games single-handedly and playing through pain to achieve the best possible result. 

While the two championships he won are testaments to his greatness, the best example came in 2013, and arguably at the cost of the rest of Kobe's career. As pointed out by 24KobeGoat on Reddit, Bryant in 2013 played through an ankle sprain and bone spurs to take the Lakers to the 7th seed in the Western Conference, winning 6 of the last 7 games and tearing his Achilles in the process. 

"In 2013 with 8 Games left, Lakers trailed the Jazz for the 8th seed. Kobe played 47.37 minutes & left the Kings arena on crutches battling an ankle sprain and bone spurs. Bryant averaged 45 minutes in the next 6 games, winning 5/6 and tearing his Achilles but securing the Lakers a playoff spot."

Kobe averaged 27.3 points per game that season and he willed his team for the playoffs, although the tear in his Achilles meant that he couldn't participate in the postseason and the Lakers ended up getting swept in the first round. Bryant's run came at the cost of the rest of his career though. He never truly recovered, playing in just 41 games over the next 2 seasons before calling it quits after the 2015/16 season.

While arguments can be made about whether Kobe should have played those minutes or not, his determination to secure those wins and a playoff spot for the Lakers was nothing short of incredible and it has inspired many of the stars of today, like Paul George. Considering the sad end the Lakers have suffered through this campaign, the current roster could have done well to take inspiration from what Kobe did back in the day.