(Update: Friday @ 7:24 PM) Kobe Bryant has confirmed via Facebook that he will make his return on Sunday against the Raptors. Average ticket prices are already up to $292 per seat, a rise of 70% in the last three hours.
The pending return of Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers has the NBA and it’s fans collectively holding it’s breath.
Los Angeles isn’t exactly expected to make a deep playoff run or compete for an NBA Finals. Heck, some have already ruled them out as a team that could even make a serious run at the NBA playoffs. However, Lakers fans won’t be so quick to judge. After all, this current Los Angeles squad is playing high-octane offense and winning more games than anyone expected. In fact, they’re hovering right around .500, and they’re doing it without the likes of Bryant and Steve Nash.
With that said, a Lakers team with no Black Mamba isn’t one to get too excited about. But along with the release of the new Nike Kobe 9 shoes, there are reports of his upcoming return, Lakers fans are starting to get giddy.
Let the next slate of games, and mainly the upward trend of prices for Lakers tickets do the talking:
12/8/2013 vs. Raptors (likely return date) | Avg: $172 | Get-in: $32 | Trend: +12%
Kobe was eying Friday's game at Sacramento, but it was reported yesterday that he would not so now the hopeful return data is Sunday vs the Raptors. This is the game everyone will be looking to get to in Los Angeles. Count on it. Bryant doesn’t seem to be quite ready to face the Kings, but the talk is heating up with good full practices and it only makes sense for a star as big as he is to make his return on his own court. He won’t play full minutes, but facing a so-so Toronto team in L.A. would be a good place for his re-insertion and it could also end in a win.
12/10/2013 vs. Suns | Avg: $169 | Get-in: $26 | Trend: +5%
The Suns play with an up-tempo pace but Bryant should be ready to run a bit in his likely second game bank. Should Kobe be ready for his second game of the year, don’t bank on this solid $148 price tag staying put.
12/20/2013 vs. Timberwolves | Avg: $237 | Get-in: $37 | Trend: +11%
The first three games on this list are against sub-par teams with mostly either marginal talent or at least talent that hasn’t developed at a superstar level. Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio are well know and the T’Wolves present a solid challenge, though. This is easily the most expensive game on the docket for Kobe’s return journey in December to this point, and fittingly so.