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Over the course of 20 seasons, I suffered my fair share of serious injuries. The first thing I always thought about in those situations was, What do i need to do to get back to 100 percent? That was my mindset. I never let fear or doubt seep into my psyche. I never whined and I never complained. I mean, for what?
On the fractures, small breaks, and sprains asked myself a different question: "Will it get worse if I play through it?" If it was going to be painful but not get worse, I'd deal with it 100 percent of the time. That was the only thought process for me.
I fought through some injuries-ankles, back, knees,shoulders-that limited me in certain ways. In those instances, I'd spend time during shoot around and early in the game testing out what I could and couldn't do on the court.
Once I established my limitations, I'd adjust my game plan accordingly. Occasions like that are reminders why you need to have a well-rounded game, why you need to be able to do everything with both hands, off of either foot, whether you're 30 feet from the basket or in the post.
When I was hurt, I was less athletic. It limited some of my burst and explosion. But that's all it did. I was still me,still Kobe.
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