- Kevin Pelton, ESPN Staff Writer
When Kobe Bryant hobbled off the court with a ruptured Achilles on April 12, it marked the end of the Kobe era in Los Angeles Lakers history. That's not to say that Bryant won't come back (he will), or even that he won't excel after having surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. But his uncertain status means that, for the first time since the Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat in summer 2004, Bryant won't be the focal point of everything the team does.
2dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann