Report: Kobe Bryant Will Return Sunday Against The Raptors

Yesterday afternoon, Kobe Bryant announced his return to the NBA hardwood with a spectacular video posted on his popular Facebook page. Sunday night against the visiting Raptors, Mamba will return from the Achilles’ tendon tear that’s kept him sidelined since mid-April.

On Sunday night at the Staples Center at 9:30 pm EST on NBA TV, Kobe Bryant will be back on the court for his beloved Lakers to take on the visiting Raptors, the same team he scored 81 points against on that incredible day in January, 2006. We doubt the parallels have escaped Bryant.

The video shows a nebulous No. 24 Lakers jersey flapping in the sky as wind, rain, thunder, lightening, sleet, snow and other inclement weather tries to tear it apart. As the cinematic music* crescendos, the sun suddenly appears and small white text reads: “The legend continues, December 8…”

The Lakers are currently No. 10 in the West after defeating the Kings 106-100 last night at Sleep Train Arena. A winning record without their superstar is laudable, especially considering the strained back and hamstring Steve Nash is suffering from, which has limited the former 2-time MVP to just 6 games for the Lakers this year.

So far this season, the Lakers’ two leading scorers are Pau Gasol and Nick Young — who comes off the bench now. While only four players average double-figures this year for the Lakers (and the high is Pau at 14.8 PPG), five others average between 8 and 10 points per game in a well-rounded attack that Kobe’s presence will certainly affect.

While it’ll be great for fans to have Kobe back, it remains to be seen whether he’s sufficiently recovered from the Achilles tear. If not, his presence — especially if he plays with his former, shoot-first, mentality — might not mesh with this well-balanced attack. It’s going to be a lot of fun finding out, though, and we’re excited to have Mamba back on the court where he belongs.

*We’re pretty sure it was John Williams score.

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