Pinpointing What Has Made Kobe Bryant so Efficient at Age 34

Kobe Bryant is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum-wrapped parable.

Get what I'm saying? I didn't think so.

And that's the point.

Bryant has defied everything we know about age, about basketball and about the ability evolve as a player and person. Simply put, the Black Mamba goes against everything we thought we knew.

At 34, most NBA players would be pining for the day they get to ride off into the California sunset, not generating MVP chatter. For the 34-year-old Kobe, however, this has been a time for, well, both.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, though Bryant's competitive drive remains unrelenting, he's never been more cognizant that the end is near:

The possibility of retiring when his contract expires in 2014 still looms large in his mind. He's weary of the toll that his rigorous workout regimens take on him. It isn't the winters that wear him out, but the summers.

"It's a lot, a lot of work," Bryant said. "My competitive spirit comes from like every little inch, your body is slowing down, the younger guys are passing you up. It really keeps me on edge."

Bryant's self-imposed mindset is a riddle in itself.

The devotion to title contention isn't something that wavers with age, but the ability to perform at a championship-caliber pace is.

Sure, we watched as a 34-year-old Michael Jordan navigated the rigors of an entire NBA season to claim his sixth NBA championship, but his performance was an exception, a rarity.

Bryant's performance thus far—the struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers aside—is the exception to the exception. A phenomenon, if you will.

In his last season with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan averaged 26.7 points on 46.5 percent shooting from the floor and 23.8 percent shooting from three-point range, none of which were career highs. Currently, Bryant is averaging 29.5 points on 47.8 pe...

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