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25 more games and Kobe wins a free latte

July 29, 2009 | 10:54 pm

Kobe Bryant is still just 30 years old, but that doesn't mean his odometer isn't flipping digits like an '86 Volvo station wagon owned by a couple of liberal arts professors at a small Maine college.  It's easy to forget how long Kobe's been around and how many games he's played... so allow me to remind you.  948 in the regular season, good for ninth among active players.  (Assuming good health, by mid-season 24 will break into the top 100 in pro hoops history.)  I didn't realize he was that high on the ladder.

Looking just at minutes logged, Kobe is seventh among current players at 34,531  Those numbers don't include his 175 postseason games and their additional 6,888 minutes on of burn.  This is not to suggest that Kobe is ripe for decline- the dude keeps himself in terrifyingly good condition- but the Grim Reaper (roundball version) eventually comes for all who play, even the best in the game. Kobe will be good for a while, likely very good, but won't be Kobe forever. 

The Lakers have a window with him in which to do great things, but it won't stay open forever.