LOS ANGELES -- In the hours after a cruel ending to his relentless push for the playoffs, Kobe Bryant took to Facebook on Saturday to vent about the Achilles tendon injury that ended his 17th season and puts his career in jeopardy.
Through the emotions of his first catastrophic injury after all these years of pushing, through the haze of pain medication and under the weight of the long road ahead, Bryant sounded like a man who was extremely conflicted about whether he had the will to return from the injury next season at age 35.
Like Bryant's competitive rage, his middle-of-the-night post was raw and unvarnished.
"This is such BS!" Bryant wrote. "All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen?!? Makes no damn sense.
"Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player OR better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me.
"Then again, maybe not!"
Bryant has spoken all season about his future plans being based on whether he has the will to continue training at the level necessary to compete at the highest level. He was expected to decide after the season whether the 2013-14 season would be his last, and he has candidly expressed his own doubts about whether he can continue to push his body and mind as hard as he has all these years.
Those doubts flooded out in the wee hours after Bryant's Achilles tendon ruptured Friday night as he was pushing the Lakers toward a must-win over Golden State in their quest for a playoff berth. But so did Bryant's uncompromising will not to give up, not to be defeated.
"It's 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I'm wide awake," he wrote. "Forgive my Venting but what's the purpose of social media if I won't bring it to you Real?? ... Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever."