#4) Kobe tears his Achilles
I will allow one injury on this list, and only one. Kobe Bryant is the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Lakers; he has been for 17 seasons. Achilles ruptures are at the top of the list of “death sentence” injuries for older players. Seeing his ankle give on the drive was, for me, the most gut-wrenching moment of 2012-2013. Kobe Bryant became human.
Yet even in his moment of weakness, he came through for the Lakers. In a day and age where players leave the court in a wheelchair for little to no reason *cough* Dwyane Wade *cough* Paul Pierce *cough*, Kobe Bryant hobbled back onto the court, tied the game with two free throws, and hobbled off. As much as I like to see the Lakers fail, I never like to see it like this.
Kobe fought tooth and nail to get the struggling Lakers to the playoffs last year. I said he couldn’t do it, but he did. That made it all the sadder when he was unable to compete with his team to keep them there, and a first round sweep by the San Antonio Spurs must have been beyond difficult for him to watch. The question remains – When Kobe returns, will his body still be able to match his mind?