Kobe Bryant knows a thing or two about getting back to full strength after an achilles injury, so when Richard Sherman faced a similar fate the former Los Angeles Laker gave the now-San Francisco 49er a call.
Sherman’s season ended on Thursday Night Football in November, setting up a long road to recovery that happened to include him parting ways with the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman is now with the 49ers, though, and working hard to get back on the field at age 30 from a major injury: a ruptured achilles.
Bryant famously tore his achilles in 2013 while with the Lakers, and the recovery process wasn’t easy, even for an obsessive athlete like Kobe. Sherman certainly has a lot to prove to the league — and especially the Seahawks — when he gets back to full strength, but Bryant advised him to be careful.
Bryant spoke to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner about Sherman’s recovery and called coming back from the injury is “the ultimate challenge.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” Bryant said. “It’s horrible.”
When he reached out to Sherman, though, the story is classic Kobe.
“When I first called to check on him I said, ‘Are you all right, I want to make sure you are not being a baby about it?'” Kobe Bryant recalls of a November 2017 phone call.
The story does make it clear that Kobe was worried, though, and wanted to make sure Sherman has a realistic view of the road ahead.
When Bryant reached out to Sherman on that November day, he was prepared with plenty of advice on how to get through the grueling process. Bryant gave Sherman the name of a couple of doctors to reach out to about doing his surgery. He provided procedural advice on some of the day-to-day components of the recovery and laid out the different phases of rehab. Most of all, he wanted to make make sure Sherman had his mind right for what was to come.
“The most important part is not looking at the finish line,” Bryant said. “It’s so far away, it’s like starting at the base of Everest and you’re looking up at the summit. That’s big. That’s what the Achilles injury is like, man, it’s tough. You can’t think about the finish line. You have to just think about the day that’s right here in front of you now. You put one foot in front of the other and then next thing you know, time has gone by and you’re at the top of the mountain. But you have got to just take it one step at a time.”
Bryant and Sherman have been friends for a while now, so it’s pretty convenient that Kobe had some specific advice about his injury in this case. It’s never fun coming back from injury, especially one so devastating to an athlete. But Sherman certainly was in good company during his recovery.
(via NBC Sports)