- (PHOTO:REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski)
Kobe Bryant feels blessed that he has been give return back to the NBA.
Bryant, the 35-year-old Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, recently signed a two year extension with the team that he joined on the court Sunday. Although he was not aggressive in his on court debut this season, Bryant seemed to be improving in the Lakers' 114-108 loss to the Phoenix Suns Tuesday.
The star veteran shooting guard contributed 20 points, 3 assists, 2 boards and 3 turnovers in 29 minutes of play. While Bryant shot 6 of 11 from the field and made 8 of 8 free throws, he let it be known that he was not taking the opportunity for granted.
"My goodness it feels good to be back and playing," Bryant tweeted. "Easy to take it all for granted.. God I LOVE playing this game #blessed."
Although Bryant just returned to the court after having his Achilles tendon surgically repaired in April, the Lakers' management reportedly wanted to sign his extension to prove their loyalty to the player.
While the guard nicknamed "Black Mamba" has returned to the court with his team, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni does not want people to get ahead of themselves expecting him to return to full form just yet.
"There's a lot of steps to be taken, so I just think we need to be cautious," he told the Los Angeles Times previously. "There will be some struggles early. There's no way he comes back with everything. But at the same time, he is 10 percent better than most people."
However, Bryant has the full backing of his entire team which includes management.
"To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment," general manager Mitch Kupchak said of Bryant in a statement to the press.