Is Kobe Bryant Poised To Hit the Wall?

Time catches up with everyone. There's no escaping that fact.

The question is, when is it likely to happen to Kobe Bryant?

Bryant will turn 32 later this month. While many comparable players have been able to play at a very high level into their 30s, in Bryant's case, it might be more of a question of "mileage."

Bryant, having been drafted out of high school, has already played fourteen seasons in the NBA. 

To put that in perspective, that is more seasons than Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen played with the Bulls, and more seasons than Larry Bird played in his career. 

Comparing that number to other great "wing" players, there are several examples of players who started declining in performance after their thirteenth or fourteenth seasons (see, Dominique Wilkins, George Gervin).

Ultimately, comparisons are difficult.

Bryant was among the first "crop" of teen sensations who jumped directly to the NBA. 

There really is no precedent that can be used to accurately predict when a player like Bryant will break down physically.

Has Bryant already started showing his age? 

To an extent, yes. 

While there is no denying he is still performing at an elite level, he certainly—as is the case with most guards as they age—does not drive to the hoop as much as he did in the past.  Instead, he relies heavily on his jump shot. 

Bryant's age may also be showing through injuries. 

He has played through a finger injury for some time now, and recently had minor knee surgery. There is no question that, as we age, injuries tend to become more frequent and recovery time takes longer.

Players are starting to notice the start of Kobe's decline. 

For example, here's what Tracy McGrady had to say about the subject i...

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