Kobe Bryant once tried to roll his Achilles back in place and asked if he could tape it to continue playing

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Lakers trainer Gary Vitti revealed that Kobe Bryant attempted to play through pain after suffering an Achilles injury versus the Golden State Warriors back in 2013.

“I went out there and had a couple of words,” Vitti told Sportskeeda.”It was fairly obvious that he ruptured his Achilles. He literally told me on the court that he reached back and tried to pull it back down. To this day, I don’t even understand what that means. It’s not like it rolls up your leg. Maybe it felt that way to him. I said, ‘It doesn’t work that way.’ Kobe then said, ‘Yeah, I figured that out. I tried to walk on my heel and see if I can play that way.’ Nobody has ever said that to me, either. Here’s a guy that knows he ruptured his Achilles, but he’s trying to figure out how he can stay on the court. He said, ‘Can we go in the back and tape it up, and I’ll finish the game?’ And I said, ‘No, it doesn’t work that way, either.’”

Before exiting the game with his Achilles injury, Bryant dropped 34 points, five rebounds and four assists on 9-of-21 shooting from the field and 12-of-16 from the free-throw line in just under 45 minutes of playing time. Thanks in large to his contributions from a scoring standpoint, the Lakers went on to beat the Warriors at home by two points to improve their record to 43-37 on the season.

As for the opposition, star guard Stephen Curry led all scorers with 47 points. He also chipped in six rebounds, nine assists and three steals in the losing effort.

Bryant suited up in 78 games for the Lakers during the 2012-13 regular season and averaged 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor. He earned an All-Star nod that season and finished fifth in MVP voting, behind only LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the 2012-13 iteration of the Lakers fell to the San Antonio Spurs — who went on to reach the NBA Finals — in the first round of the 2013 playoffs without arguably their best player in Bryant in the lineup. All four of Los Angeles’ losses in that series came by double digits.

Bryant’s iconic career in the NBA and with the Lakers franchise came to an end following the 2015-16 season. In 66 regular-season appearances with Los Angeles, he averaged 17.6 points per game on 35.8 percent shooting from the floor. He scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz back in April of 2016 in what was his final game in the pros.

Vitti’s story of Bryant trying to roll his Achilles back in place is just one of the countless memorable stories that people around the NBA have regarding the 18-time All-Star.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.