Kobe Bryant continues to grind. The 16-time All-Star is 35 and has 18 seasons of baggage on him. Injuries to his Achilles and knee injury have limited him to six games since April 12, 2013.

Yet, Bryant signed a two-year $48.5 million contract extension in November that keeps him in Los Angeles through the 2015-16 season. Bryant and the Lakers have faith he can still be an alpha dog. That is important when you only have six players under contract on July 21. (Six!)

Bryant gave the Lakers reason to believe in his health Sunday. Playing in Richard Sherman's charity softball game, Bryant smashed a home run in his first at-bat at Safeco Field.

And from another angle:


The game featured a shorter, temporary fence, but Bryant's power is nothing to scoff at. He said he had not swung a bat in 20 years, but knocked the ball out with ease in his first at-bat. He attributed his sweet stroke from the left side to his coach, four-time Pro Bowl safety Lawyer Milloy.



Apparently, Bryant was in a Home Run Derby before the actual game started, and he performed below expectations. Maybe the practice cuts were what Bryant needed before the swings actually counted.


In a game featuring Sherman, Macklemore, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Nate Robinson and Jamal Crawford, among others, of course Bryant still managed to be the center of attention. A noted soccer player, Bryant proved his versatility gives him skill in another sport.

Somewhere, Carmelo Anthony is second-guessing himself. The Mamba is still an athlete. Maybe the Lakers are a healthier team than advertised this summer.

-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.

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