Sports Out West

Kobe Bryant return: Lakers star to debut Sunday vs. Raptors

Photo Credit | Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant will make his long-awaited return on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, he announced on Friday via Facebook

The video, which is over two minutes in length, goes through a progression of weather that signifies Bryant’s journey through adversity, triumph and hardship. At the very end, there’s a subtle but definitive reference to his return date. In white letters on a black backdrop, the words “December 8″ grace the screen. 

That means that Bryant’s rehabilitation, ramped up activity and strong week of practice will finally come to fruition over the weekend on the Lakers’ home floor. They’ll next face the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at Staples Center before going on a four-game road trip that will include a marquee game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN. 

The biggest questions will be what kind of effect Bryant will have on the team dynamic when he comes in and what kind of player he’ll be upon his return. He’s almost certain to lose some of his explosiveness, but he’s proven to be a master at making adjustments and will be a difference-maker from the onset. 

Nevetheless, the Lakers and the NBA have waited all season for Dec. 8, and what would have been an otherwise uneventful game now receives top billing. 

Photo Credit | Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today

 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.