Skip to main content

Tim Grover reveals Kobe Bryant wanted to return to the game after an Achilles tear

Tim Grover on Kobe Bryant's Achilles tear

Tim Grover on Kobe Bryant's Achilles tear

Kobe's pain tolerance was off the charts. The guy could endure much more than your regular human being - both physically and psychologically. Every top-tier athlete can. But it was different with Kobe; it bordered on insanity.

From minor setbacks to tearing his Achilles

Remember Kobe dislocating his finger and his athletic trainer throwing a towel over it, yanking it back, and getting Bean back on the floor? Or his shoulder popping out and his trainer fixing it right on the spot? Stuff like that would've presented a challenge for guys to even get back to the locker room and have a proper treatment. For Bryant, those were just minor setbacks that were dealt with within minutes.

But there was a time when even Kobe stood no chance. That infamous April 12, 2013, when Bryant made a move he had made a thousand times before. He pushed off his left foot, trying to drive around Golden State Warriors' Harrison Barnes. Kobe felt a pop and was about to embark on one of the biggest challenges of his NBA career - recovering from Achilles tendon as a 34-year old.

"Could you pull it and tape it down so I can finish the game?"

Now, we've seen dozens of NBA players tear their Achilles, and the aftermath is always the same. You see them hugging in excruciating pain before they're taken off the court. At that moment, basketball becomes a side issue; something that doesn't even cross their minds. And who can blame them - it may be the worst thing you can experience as an athlete.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

But Kobe kept his focus on basketball, not allowing the strings of the game to slip out of his hands. He walked it off, just enough to hit two one-legged free throws before heading to the locker room. But something else happened on his way there—something on a whole other level.

The last play he tore his Achilles - every other player in the league, you'd had your teammates carrying you off. He not only gets up and makes two free throws, but goes over to the bench and asks 'Could you pull it and tape it down so I can finish the game?'

Tim Grover, GQ Sports

Mamba wanted to stay on the floor! The guy couldn't walk but wanted to play. He had enough sense not to push such an agenda, but just showing a desire to stay in the game in such a condition is jaw-dropping.

If there was a time to challenge Kobe, it was that time. And thankfully, he listened. It gave us a few more seasons of the Lakers legend. Kobe was never the same playing-wise, but he kept the same mentality during his final run in the league.

We've seen its ultimate manifestation in Bryant's farewell game when Mamba dropped 60 on the Jazz and led the Lakers to a win for the last time -- something he had done countless times over his all-time great 20-year career.

Allen Iverson created his own path to the NBA that many players after him have looked to follow

'I'm a Sixer for life' - Allen Iverson doesn't understand why the Sixers won't consider giving him a role in the organization

Allen Iverson wanted to help the Sixers but is wondering why nothing has materialized yet to this day.


“It's not a hard shot to learn” — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explains why no player in NBA history has perfected the skyhook

It might not have been passed to one generation after another, but that proves that only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar perfected one of the most iconic signature moves in the history of the sport.

North Carolina Tar Heels former guard Michael Jordan and former head coach Dean Smith

“It was Coach [Dean] Smith's call” — Michael Jordan opens up about what convinced him to declare for the NBA Draft

Michael Jordan's college coach Dean Smith was the one who pushed him to forego his senior year in North Carolina.

Los Angeles Lakers center Vlade Divac

“He enjoyed smoking cigarettes more than shooting free throws in practice” — Vlade Divac was called out for his smoking addiction during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers

While Divac's smoking addiction might've earned him a spot on the Lakers roster, it also certainly rubbed his teammates the wrong way.

Washington Wizards guard Michael Jordan

“One of the bad decisions I made was to go back and play” — Michael Jordan on why he regrets coming back to play for the Washington Wizards

MJ thought he was ”being innovative in my job by going down and evaluating the talent firsthand.” It was the exact opposite.

Matt Barnes on the Ime Udoka suspension - “This situation in Boston is deep, messy and 100 times uglier than any of us thought”

Matt Barnes on the Ime Udoka suspension -“This situation in Boston is deep, messy and 100 times uglier than any of us thought”

Barnes said he got the full scoop of the Udoka situation. and says that the story is deeper and uglier than he was made to believe, although he wouldn't divulge the details of the story