With all this talk about Kobe's knees, his minutes piling up, his mileage, et al, got me thinking about how much he actually has played. So here are some interesting statistics that I researched today:
Kobe has played 38,626 minutes in his career. That is good for #32 of all time, #5 active (behind Kidd, KG, Shaquille and Jesus Shuttlesworth). He has played in 1,059 games on an average of 36.5 minutes per game.
However, he’s also played in 198 career playoff games, a total of 7,811 minutes. This is good for 5th all time and 2nd active (behind Shaquille’s 8087).
Divided over and 82 game season, Kobe has essentially played 13 season’s worth of regular season basketball (despite this being his 15th year, due to injuries, suspensions, etc).
I then took the 7,811 minutes postseason minutes, which when divided them by his career average for regular season games played, comes out to 214 additional regular season games, or 2.6 seasons (obviously postseason basketball is much more intense than say, a December 31st game against the Sixers – but there isn’t a metric that can measure the “intensity” of a game).
So what it comes down to, is that the Mamba has played 1272 games or 15 ½ full seasons of NBA basketball, averaging 36.5 minutes a game, all while being the first or second option the entire time.
The question shouldn't really be how Kobe's career mileage is affecting his decline, but rather how is he able to play at this level despite his career mileage.