While the date of his return is still unclear, Kobe Bryant is hoping to push through the final phases of his recovery from Achilles tendon surgery.
"I'm feeling good. It's been a long process but it's been a challenging one and I'm looking forward to coming back this year and being on point," said Bryant from Dubai while hosting "The Kobe Bryant Health & Fitness Weekend" in support of diabetes awareness.
Technically the weekend runs Friday through Saturday in the United Arab Emirates, unlike the standard Saturday-Sunday observed in America.
"It's doing well, it's getting stronger and stronger every day, which is all we can ask for at this point," said Bryant, who was injured on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors. "The obstacle now is just the recovery of it."
"I can push it a lot harder but now it's about cutting the recovery time from a Monday tough workout, to be able to do the same workout on Tuesday and Wednesday and so forth," continued Bryant. "It's just about shortening that recovery time and then I should be OK."
While the Lakers prepare for the opening of training camp on Saturday with media day, Bryant is wrapping one last charitable effort in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"Both of my grandfathers were affected by diabetes," said Bryant at a press conference in Dubai.
Bryant is also building business relationships for his after-basketball career, receiving a DMCC trade license to do business in Dubai from the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, allowing Bryant to operate a business out of Dubai with full ownership, without any corporate taxes.
"We are honored to welcome Kobe to Dubai, especially as this is his first visit to the Middle East but also because he is here to help raise awareness of the importance of health and fitness. Health is the world’s most precious commodity and a topic we are passionate about here at DMCC," said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the DMCC.
The Lakers All-Star is in the final year of his contract with the team, although he's indicated he expects to play another few years. While Bryant wouldn't let on to his post-career plans, he noted last season that he has very specific ideas.
"The area that's really natural to me is the sports industry, obviously that's a natural fit," said Bryant while in Dubai. "I think from there you start with - that's a good place to start because I know so much about that world but from there you can grow accordingly that's a good place to start."
"Some of the things I believe in throughout my NBA career, I would love to carry over to the business realm," he continued. "If you look at a championship team and what it takes to be a championship team, it's the same denominators that it takes to run a successful business or to be the best in the industry. From leadership, to unselfishness, to the hard work, to the camaraderie -- those are all things that translate."
Taking advantage of the 11-hour time difference, Bryant should be able to return to Los Angeles in time for Saturday morning's media day session at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo.
The Lakers start the season on Oct. 29 at home against the Clippers. It's unclear if Bryant will be ready to play in the opener.