Found April 14, 2013 on
Fox Sports Florida:
MIAMI Like seemingly everyone in the NBA, LeBron James was saddened by the season-ending injury to Kobe Bryant. But James said its not going to change anything he does.
The Miami Heat star doesnt plan to be extra cautious. He said it wont affect how much he might play with USA Basketball during future summers.
If you play your professional life worried about injuries, youre never going to be able to maximize your potential,'' James said. "You cant do that. You just got to go out and play. And it happened. And its a terrible thing . But you cant say, OK, Im not playing this game because Im afraid of injury or Im not playing this summer if the opportunity is there. There is going to be a time when you cant play the game at all because Father Time has caught up with you. So try to do as much as you can when you can.
The Heats 105-93 win Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena was their first game since the Los Angeles Lakers star went down late Friday night with a torn Achilles tendon. James has played with Bryant on Olympic gold-medal-winning outfits in 2008 and 2012, and the two have been considered the top two players in the NBA for a good part of the past decade.
It was very sad and it just emotionally I couldnt feel for him because no one can feel exactly what hes going through, James said of his thoughts when Bryant went down. But I was like, Damn. As a competitor and as one of the colleagues, I mean you never want an injury for anyone. But its like the same like when Derrick Rose went down (with a knee surgery last April for Chicago). And Kobe going down, you just know how competitive he is . Ive been on two Olympic teams with him. I know how much work he puts into the game. I was sad for him, man. It was like, Damn.
Miami guard Dwyane Wade and center Chris Bosh also were on the 2008 Olympic team with Bryant. Wade had sent out a tweet Saturday morning offering support to Bryant.
Obviously, its unfortunate that this happened, Wade said after Sundays game. He was having a hell of a year. You talk about somebody willing a team to a goal, he was doing that. So losing Kobe for our game, its not anything that we want to do. But the only thing you think of when you see someone like and you hear his interview, you know that hes going to do everything in his power to come back and be the Kobe Bryant that everybody has become accustomed to. So you can believe it when he said it.
James dismissed any talk Bryants career could be over. Bosh also fully expects him to return.
Man, its tough. You never want to see anybody go down with a serious injury like that, Bosh said. I hope he bounces back well. Hopefully, knowing him with his mentality, hell see this as a challenge and really attack it like he needs to and stay mentally tough.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said he was sick to my stomach when Bryant went down. However, he said he cant let anything like that change his coaching strategy at all.
Spoelstra, who wanted to get the Big Three of James, Wade and Bosh one final good run together for the final time this regular season, did just that Sunday. With the Heat having their playoff position locked up, Wade played 37 minutes, two more his average, James logged 35, three under his average, and Bosh played 31, two under his average.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson.
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