Athlete: Kobe Bryant

The key to Kobe Bryant getting back to the top of his game isn't his dogged training, German stem cell treatments, or a specialized designed, but currently vacant case for his sixth championship ring. No, it's Nick Young. Swaggy P. The Iggy Azalea Slayer. Pau Gasol's new BFF:

The moment Bryant signed that two-year/$48 million contract extension, he knew he was signing away any hopes of making a title run before Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook hits free agency in 2015. So maybe, for the first time in his career, we'll see a new side of Kobe. Kobe Evolved. Swaggy K. Maybe Kobe will put the mask on. Young's fun-loving, swash-buckling, hot-shooting nature has rubbed off on the Lakers, who would probably be a No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference despite giving Ryan Kelly minutes at power forward. This is an exciting basketball team to watch, because for once, the Lakers are a team of misfit toys (rather than a gang of overpaid and overrated veterans). There aren't any expectations! When Bryant comes back from his latest injury, he should cool off the "I'm always going for a title" rhetoric, embrace Young as the son he never had, and treat games as H-O-R-S-E matches versus Swaggy P all while going for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's scoring record.