Kevin McHale still remembers the day, where he was, what he was thinking when he knew his career was over. It was not the injury that ended it; it was coming back from the injury that had changed him, and made him decide it was time.

McHale thought about that day on Saturday, a day after Kobe Bryant’s devastating Achilles injury. He could not know if Bryant will feel the same way. Few others, however, had been through such similar circumstances, or can better understand the emotions Bryant will have now and face in the months ahead.

“It just got to the point it was the first time in my entire life I didn’t enjoy (basketball),” McHale said. “I went to the arena one day. I was dreading going to play basketball because of all the stuff I had to do. It dawned on me as I was driving in. I said, “This is the first time in my life I wasn’t excited to go play basketball.’ It was a really weird feeling. That feeling stayed with me for six weeks. I just said “I’m not going to play anymore.’ It’s a game I loved so much. Not to love going to the gym because of all the rehab and the crap.

“Even when I was doing rehab prior to that, I was still excited about some aspect. For me, I just said that’s it. But everybody is different. That’s just me. I have no idea. He’s been great. He’s played 17 seasons. He’s had a Hall of Fame career, been a great player. If that’s the way it ends, that’s the way it ends. I hope it doesn’t for him because I’ve always admired how he plays.”

McHale retired after 13 seasons with mobility limited by ankle injuries and surgeries, but has said he could have played three more seasons based on his knowledge of the game picked up over the years. Following surgery for a torn Achilles tendon, Bryant faces six to nine months of rehab and unpredictable abilities when he does return.