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Lakers’ Bryant To Make Season Debut Against Raptors

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — ‘Tis the season to be jolly for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Guard Kobe Bryant will make his 2013-14 season debut on Sunday when the Lakers take on the Toronto Raptors at the STAPLES Center, the team announced Friday on its Facebook page.

It will be the 35-year-old Bryant’s first game since he tore his Achilles back in April.

His return comes just days after signing a two-year contract extension reportedly worth $48.5 million that takes him into his 20th season with the Lakers.

The team revealed Bryant’s long-awaited return with a dramatic two-minute video that featured a #24 Lakers jersey — Bryant’s number — being battered and torn by the changing seasons of snow, wind, rain, and hail, followed by a blinding sunrise heralding a triumphant, brand-new jersey.

Bryant, the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history, said it was an easy decision to return to the team for what he expects to be his final contract in the NBA.

“The Lakers came up with the structure — a system and a plan they thought was a win-win for everybody involved. From my perspective, it was very easy to accept it,” Bryant said after signing the deal.

The Lakers will be without Bryant for Friday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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