On Friday, Kobe Bryant changed his photo (or avatar) on Twitter to the number “1225.”
While the Lakers All-Star guard hasn’t commented yet on the change, Bryant is undoubtedly using the voice of outside critics as a form of self-motivation.
ESPN recently ranked the Lakers as the 12th best team in the Western Conference.
The sports website also named Bryant the 25th-best player in the NBA, dropping all the way from sixth just a season ago — 12th and 25th — 1225.
Bryant is currently recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon, with no timetable for his return, although he’s begun to ramp up his activity over the last few weeks.
Last season the Lakers won 45 games. They’ve since lost Dwight Howard to free agency and have yet to how effective Bryant will be once he does return from one of basketball’s most devastating injuries.
Bryant has almost always exceeded expectations when recovering from injury but this test is the most challenging one of his career.
He appears to have adopted the number 1225 as a mantra, a reminder of those doubts, placed upon him and his team.
Opening night — Oct. 29 vs. the Clippers — appears to be a long shot, but Thanksgiving could be a reasonable guess for Bryant’s return.