“Me, I’m a freak-of-nature dawg because of my size. LeBron could be a scientific dawg like Kobe, but he’s not, he’s got a lot going on like I did, so that’s preventing him from being one.”
“Kobe was great. He practices as if it’s Game 7. He wants to prove that he’s the best player in the world every single practice.”
The first quote was from Shaquille O’Neal and the second on was from another NBA great, Jason Kidd. You may have heard other similar stories about Kobe Bryant’s insane drive and work ethic. These have turned him into one of the greatest basketball players of all time. It took years for him to get to this point. As a budding player, starting early and learning from the best will get you closer to your dream.
High School Sensation
You may have heard coaches from high school basketball camps talk about the importance of practice. You may be one of those bright young stars who could dunk over and out run others with sheer athleticism, but what separates the best from the rest is work ethic. Kobe Bryant was able to make it to the NBA at 18 because of his training regimen, which started at 5 A.M. before school started.
Other than getting to the gym earlier than everyone else, Kobe played one-on-one games with his teammates. This isn’t just any pick-up game; he would often run the score up until he scored 100 points before claiming victory. All those hours and games paid off for Bryant, he played against Michael Cooper in a workout for the Lakers. He shredded Michael and convinced Jerry West.
After several all-star selections, Olympic medals, and championships, Kobe’s work ethic never stopped — he kept going. Kobe practices before anyone else on the 2008 Olympics and lost 16 pounds for the 2012 games. He follows a strict diet and works out for six hours a day, six days a week for six months before the season began.
The year 2016 may have been Kobe’s swansong, but the legend of his work ethic lives on and inspires basketball players, whether current or aspiring.