We all remember Kobe Bryant's(notes) 6-24 shooting performance in Game 7 of this year's NBA finals. It was not a very good shooting performance, obviously, as he did not make very many shots but continued to take shots. Basically, it was the very definition of a bad shooting performance, and I heard that Kobe Bryant's face will be added next to that phrase in a completely nonexistent dictionary of basketball terms.
However, while Kobe's shooting wasn't so great, it's pretty easy to forget that he was playing with a severely injured right index finger, also known as the finger most important to shooting. When you remember that little factoid, making any shots with a completely retooled release is impressive. But that's Kobe Bryant for you — doing whatever he can to perform at a high level.
As it turns out, that dedication might have cost Kobe a finger. No, it's not like he's going to lose it, but it's definitely going to be a pain in the hand for the next 50 years of his life. The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding has the tragic tale of the damaged digit.
For Bryant, the sacrifice for success could well be visible for the rest of his career in the form of something that is not another championship ring to go around his finger.
He might never play again without wearing support for his damaged right index finger.
The middle knuckle on that critical finger on Bryant's shooting hand is so debilitated by arthritis after the past season of misuse and overuse that there may be no real way to fix it. Bryant will consult with specialists in July to figure out his options, but arthritis is not a problem that can just be cleaned up with arthroscopic surgery or wished away with a little rest.
Yikes. The old broken finger that turns arthritic is never fun, especially in the two very similar fields of NBA basketball and blogging. We've lost a lot of good men out there, mostly from arthritic fingers.
Seriously, though, playing through an injury is hard enough for anyone in any sport. But playing through an injury to your index finger on your shooting hand in a sport that requires constant use of that finger and hand? That's definitely not amoré, Dino. That's constant pain 82 times a season, plus the playoffs, for another five years, at least. Like I said before, yikes.