Kobe's LIST - Collection of Inspired Workout Stories from his NBA Peers (Update: April 6, 2012)
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

 
Post new topic    LakersGround.net Forum Index -> LA Lakers Lounge Reply to topic
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Jordan-esque
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9347

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:34 pm    Post subject: Kobe's LIST - Collection of Inspired Workout Stories from his NBA Peers (Update: April 6, 2012)

Kobe's LIST:

04-06-2012 Update - Michael Jordan
04-05-2012 Update - Redeem Team

Will be updated when I find more... feel free to contribute and share.

Contributors:
Thanks to jaylen, TheRod, Clark Kent, cmonkee



Redeem Team:

Quote:
LINK

Carmelo Anthony wrote:
How he was able to just, not so much fit in, but all of us came together. I mean, everybody had doubts about how that team was going to come together, how everybody was going to react to one another. Nobody had any problems, nobody from day one. Everybody clicked, everybody talked, everybody hung out. I was one of the guys that people were skeptical about playing with Kobe. But we helped bring everybody together and just made everybody have a good time.


Carlos Boozer wrote:
You know what it was for me? And me and him are good friends, but I hadn't really trained with him -- is how hard he works. We saw his dedication to the game. He would get in the gym, lift weights, he would go over to the gym, get shots up before practice, go through the whole practice, and that was his routine every day. He's not great by accident is my point. He puts the work in. And I think what I learned about Kobe is he's so hungry to be good, he puts the work in. I just think his hunger and his determination is what I was most impressed with.


Chris Bosh wrote:
When he hit that 3 against Spain and just posed there -- it was such a tense moment. It was a crazy shot. I wasn't expecting him to shoot, and when he did it took my breath away. That and people's reaction to him in China. That was crazy.


Dwight Howard wrote:
Just the way he approaches practice. Everybody has a unique style. Just watching how he approaches every game and how committed he is to getting better.


LeBron James wrote:
That was the first time I'd had the chance to play with Kobe, and I'll always just remember being his teammate. He made a big impact on us. Of course, everyone always remembers that four-point play.


Jason Kidd wrote:
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.


Tayshaun Prince wrote:
You learn a lot of things from Kobe, just his patience and things like that. Just the ultimate competitor. Stays in the gym all the time. Always wants to get better. Always wants to work. When you go out there and play against him, you have to be ready for war. He's always moving, he's always physical, you have to always be alert at any time.


Michael Redd wrote:
We became good friends over that time period. We're around the same age, so we hung out and had the same perspective around that time. We had great respect, obviously, for each others' games, but talked more about life rather than basketball. And just competitive in practice. [Those] practices were some of the greatest practices I've ever been a part of. We matched up every day. And you can throw D-Wade in there. It was incredible. So great a teammate. We had a great time together off the court.


Dwyane Wade wrote:
That shot he hit in the title game, that long 3. No matter what else happens, that is when you're glad to have Kobe Bryant on your team. He played so big in that game. It was Kobe at his best. That was a Kobe moment right there. I was glad he was on my side.


Deron Williams wrote:
I just remember how competitive he was. Everything with him is a competition, and I'm kinda the same way. So we'd just be shooting casually, and it would turn into shooting games, which he would cheat on. (said jokingly)


Chris Paul wrote:
Me and Kob really figured out how much we had in common on that trip. That Olympic experience is when we got a lot closer. Me and my wife send him Christmas cards and his family sends us Christmas cards, and now we talk on a regular basis. We both want to win so badly. It's one of those things where as great a relationship as we have, as long as we're playing on the same court against each other, we're always going to get into it, you know what I mean? That's the respect factor, because you know that he wants it just as bad as I do.


Mike Krzyzewski wrote:
The main thing I remember about coaching both Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul is 100 percent cooperation. Truly great players realize that two acting as one, rather than as an individual, can produce amazing results. With Kobe, coaching him in 2008 is what I had hoped to do 12 years earlier, which was to coach the best player on the planet. He cooperated fully and, really, it is one of the best moments of my coaching career.


Jim Boeheim wrote:
Kobe, from day one, is just the hardest-working player I've ever been around. He just does an unbelievable job. He came in, he worked out before practice and practiced harder than anybody and then worked out afterwards and continued the whole trip. The first trip we are qualifying and then the Olympics themselves. He's just an unbelievable competitor and in practice goes 100 percent every day in practice and that brings everybody else up to that same level. He was a huge part of us being ready in the Olympics to be able to win. Of course, when we needed a big shot, he made a big shot against Spain.


Mike D'Antoni wrote:
The intensity is off the charts and he makes everybody better just by his attention to everything the team does and buying into working out and all that. You're talking about one of the highest level of champions that the league has, and to coach him was a dream.


Nate McMillan wrote:
I've even looked at Kobe and said, 'I think there are times he wants the game close.' He doesn't want a blowout. He wants to play in the fourth quarter and he wants to play late in the fourth quarter and he wants the game close. I think that motivates him, as a way of challenging the game. I haven't talked to him, this is just me. I think he loves that moment so much that he prefers the game, he wants the game to be close so that he can play the fourth quarter.

^ Contribution by monkee


Michael Jordan (per Roland Lazenby):

LINK
Quote:
"Kobe had done the work. He [Jordan] was very aware and taking in great interest in Kobe Bryant's great work ethic. Michael Jordan's work ethic also is legendary. He said Kobe had done that work to deserve the comparison. He says Kobe's the only one to have done the work."

"Kobe’s ultimate competition is MJ. That’s why MJ watches him. MJ made people think what he was doing wasn’t human. Ditto the Kobester."




Tyson Chandler:

LINK

Quote:
"The thing that makes him so unstoppable is that he never stops coming. I don't care."

"This year we were up in New Orleans by like 12 in the 4th quarter with 5-6 minutes left, and we pretty much had the game in control. And (Kobe) was there on the free throw line and he was like 'You know I ain't going to let us lose right?', and I looked back at him and I was like 'What!? Man I ain't letting my team lose!'. And he was like 'Alright but I just know I ain't going to let my team lose.' And I went back at him 'Well I ain't going to let my team lose!'

"Right after that, man... he ran off like 15 straight points on us. And I was looking at the scoreboard going 'Come on, let the time run down', and I'm like he can't beat us single-handedly especially after I was just sitting there talking crap back and forth to him."

"We ended up winning the game, but he almost beat us! He almost beat us by himself. But his drive, looking into his eyes, some guys can say 'Yeah we gonna win the game'. But you look at him looking at you stern in the face telling you 'We winning the game'. He almost made you believe it! He almost made me believe that we about to lose! I love that drive about him. I want to take that next year."

"Byron Scott was telling me, before we played them in LA, and coach was like 'That guy on the other side, he's playing for a ring. He understands what this moment is. He understands that he's going to take our hearts out now. He knows what he's playing for. And all you guys in this locker room you're going to have to match that. He's playing for only one thing, and that's a ring.'

"And going out of the locker room, I was like 'One guy over there, is making this whole locker room focus on him.' And I was like that needs to be me, I need to be like this guy that the whole locker room over there talks about."



Shaquille O'Neal:

LINK
Quote:
Kobe is a scientific dawg. He works out every day, practices every day. Most of the other stars are just dawgs, not scientific dawgs.

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.


LINK
Quote:
Kobe was so young and so immature in some ways, but I can tell you this: everything Kobe is doing now, he told me all the way back then he was going to do it. We were sitting on the bus once and he told me, "I'm going to be the number one scorer for the Lakers, I'm going to win five or six championships, and I'm going to be the best player in the game." I was like, "Okay, whatever." Then he looked me right in the eye and said, "I'm going to be the Will Smith of the NBA."


Hakeem Olajuwon:

LINK
Quote:
Each time he backed down Houston's Shane Battier in the post and then deftly spun around him for a layup Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant jogged up court staring into the same pocket of fans seated courtside across from the scorer's table.

The man who met his gaze knew exactly the message Bryant was trying to convey.

"He looked at me to confirm, 'I'm using what you taught me,' " Hakeem Olajuwon said. "That was the greatest gift for me. It was wonderful."

(Jordan-esque bonus: Video Hightlight of that Lakers vs Rockets Game - shortened recap version here)

(More goodies: Video of Kobe's workout with Hakeem)

Hoping to improve his footwork on the low block and add a few new moves to his repertoire, Bryant e-mailed Olajuwon this summer and asked if the legendary former Houston center would work with him on his post game.

Just a week before training camp began in September, the master of the "Dream Shake" enthusiastically obliged, giving Bryant a two-hour step-by-step lesson on everything from head fakes and ball fakes to spin moves and jab steps.

"It was an honor for me to have the opportunity to work with him, and I want to make him proud of what I've learned," Bryant said. "I have wanted to work with him in the past, but the timing was right this year. I got a chance to work with the greatest post player ever. I've always been a student of the game, and he was very patient with me."

Although Bryant built his reputation as one of the league's most explosive scorers primarily from the perimeter, the 31-year-old knows he won't always have the quickness to get to the rim with such ease. As a result, he has shown more inclination to try to score easier baskets from the post in recent years, the same way Michael Jordan did in the latter half of his career.

It would have been difficult for Bryant to find a better tutor than Olajuwon, the player who renowned big man coach Pete Newell once said had the best footwork of any center he'd ever seen.

Obligations to USA Basketball kept Bryant occupied the past few summers, but he had the free time this September to not only work with Olajuwon but also practice what he learned on his own a couple hours a day afterward.

"Kobe always comes back with a goal," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He doesn't go through summer playing golf or going fishing. He's got something in his mind he's going to work on with his game during the offseason."

What impressed Olajuwon most about Bryant was the fluidity with which the Lakers star duplicated his moves. Whereas some young big men twisted themselves into human pretzels trying to imitate Olajuwon, Bryant's agility and athleticism allowed him to have success within hours.

Bryant showcased some of what he learned in front of Olajuwon on Wednesday night, shaking off the effects of a lingering cold to score 41 points on 15-for-30 shooting in an overtime victory against the Rockets. Olajuwon was especially pleased to see Bryant take a perimeter defensive ace such as Battier into the post and comfortably turn and score around him with either shoulder, one of the skills they worked on together.

As the Lakers showered and dressed after the game, Olajuwon ducked into their locker room for a brief powwow with his star pupil. He emerged beaming, absolutely thrilled that a player of Bryant's stature would embrace his advice.

"He wanted to work on his post moves, and he wanted me to work with him," Olajuwon said. "That's a great compliment because I know I added value to his game. Now to see him using it, that's a great thing for me."

Olajuwon paused and then added one last parting thought.

"I just hate that it was against the Rockets," he said, smiling.




Gary Payton:

LINK
Quote:
Gary Payton, who played with Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade on the Miami team that won the 2006 NBA title, said the other day the pressure is on the Heat’s Big Three – not Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra – to prove they can deliver a championship to the franchise.

“The pressure is on Dwyane, LeBron (James) and Chris (Bosh) to show it was worth all the trouble of getting them together,” he said. “I’ve played with Dwyane and it’s no knock on him but if you compare him with Kobe (Bryant), there’s a big difference in their work ethic. I played with Kobe, too, and he’d be more from my era. Kobe knows how to be humble. If Kobe loses a game, you’ll see him the next day in the gym, working extra hard to make sure he’ll be better. I don’t know if that's the same with Dwyane. They’re both great players but Dwyane is more the "show" type. There are high expectations for the Heat. It’s up to the Big Three to show they deserve to be up there with the best.”


^ Contribution by Mike D.


Dwight Howard:

LINK or LINK
Quote:
What it's like playing with Kobe?

Man you know, there were some games were, even though I was on the court, I just wanted to watch Kobe... you know, do his thing. It was just so much fun, watching him go to work.

And you know, he comes to practice everyday with the same mentaility and that is, to get better. You know, not just offensively, but defensively.

He's the last person to leave the gym, and he's always working on different moves, and different shots. Then he gets into the game, tries it, and it works!



Laron Profit:

LINK
Quote:
You know it was so funny, my first experience when I was out in LA, me and Kwame Brown got traded to the Lakers [in Summer of 2005]. We were playing a pick-up game before the season started, we were playing 3-on-3, and it was game point.

Kobe had the ball and it came off, Kwame knocked the ball away from him.

Again [this was] a pick-up game, September, nothing on the line. And the ball rolled to half court.

Kobe then ran to half-court, dived under Kwame’s legs with the ball for about 10 feet, picked the ball up, came back down, made some incredible move, then hit the game-winning shot to end the pick-up game.

I walked off the court, and I called my mom, and I said, “I think I’ve just seen the second best player ever [behind Jordan].”

But then around him, you understand that nothing he does is by accident, that all this is a result of hours and hours and hours of preparation. So that when he gets into a situation in a game, in a playoffs game, in a Finals game, his confidence comes from his prepration.

He once told me at a halftime of a game, he was struggling, I think we were playing Seattle [Sonics] and he was struggling, and I asked him, “How do you feel?” and he said, “I feel great! The second half... the second half. Hey Prof, I work too hard. These shots HAVE to fall eventually because I’ve worked too hard, I’ve shot too many shots.”

So his belief in himself… when we look at it and see it as arrogance, some people see as may have too much confidence. It’s really just a result of how hard he works, of how much preparation time he puts in his game. That once he steps on the court, he really believes that he will be successful. And that’s what I think I took away from him more than anything else, it’s that your belief in yourself has to come from your confidence and your preparation.

^ Contribution by jaylen.


The Mother Lode - Jerry West, Mitch Richmond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Devean George, Brian Shaw, Tex Winter, Del Harris, and more:

LINK
Quote:
Sports Illustrated - Chris Ballard

After scoring 25 of his 27 points in the second half of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals last week against the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant said of his strong finishing kick, "I can get off" (that is, score at will) "at any time. In the second half I did that." Granted, Bryant was just being honest, but tact would dictate that he let others say such things about him. As you may have noticed, though, Bryant isn't big on tact. As teammate Luke Walton dryly puts it, "Kobe does not lack for confidence."

Just as Bryant's bravado irks some, or many — it also makes him riveting to watch when he does get off: Like the man himself, the manner in which he bears down is never subtle. Spurs forward Bruce Bowen, Bryant's foil these many years, says there's no indicator of an impending scoring binge, joking that you can't tell "by the way he chews his gum or something."

But that's not true at all. Rather, his eruptions are almost comically predictable. Former teammate Devean George, now with the Dallas Mavericks, speaks of "that Kobe face where he starts looking around all pissed off." His coach at Lower Merion High, Gregg Downer, says he can recognize this expression even on TV. In these moments Bryant's youthful impudence, which flummoxed Del Harris when he was L.A.'s coach during Bryant's first two years in the league, resurfaces. "Kobe would put it on the floor and start going between his legs, back and forth, back and forth," says Harris, "and only then would he decide what to do."

So there was Kobe on May 21, with the Lakers down 20 in the third quarter and the L.A. crowd starting to boo, whipping the ball between his legs and shaking his noggin at Bowen like some enormous, ticked-off bobblehead. What followed seemed, in retrospect, inevitable: the deep jumpers, the twisting drives, the scowls and, finally, a cold-blooded Bryant pull-up in the lane with 23.9 seconds left to cap the 89--85 comeback win. Watching him manhandle the game, you could feel the Western Conference series tilting westward, and indeed the Lakers were up 2 games to 1.

(Jordan-esque bonus: Video Highlight of that WCF Game - this maybe a longer version)

Call it what you will: killer instinct, competitive fire, hatred of losing or, as Boston Celtics reserve guard Sam Cassell once said, "that Jordan thing." It's what has spurred Bryant all these years, what the Lakers will rely on if they are to win their first post-Shaq championship, what separates Kobe from the rest of the NBA. In 2002 Bryant said, "There's only two real killers in this league," meaning himself and Michael Jordan. Well, now there is only one. And it ain't Fabricio Oberto.

Because Kobe is Kobe, however, he cannot (or will not) soften his edge, the way Jordan did with his buddy-buddy NBA friendships, his who-would-have-thunk smirk or his endorsa-riffic smile. With Bryant, it manifests itself during practice, during games, during summer workouts, during conversation. Even in his dreams he is probably swatting a Connie Hawkins finger roll into the third row. "He can't turn it off, even if he tried," says George, one of a handful of NBA players relatively close to Bryant. And for that Kobe has often been pilloried. But is this really fair? "Kobe wants it so badly that he rubs an awful lot of people the wrong way," says Lakers consultant Tex Winter, the guru of the triangle offense, who has known Bryant since 1999. "But they're not willing to understand what's inside the guy."

Ok then, let's try to understand. Starting at the beginning, moment by basketball moment.

It is 1989, and Bryant is 11 years old and living in Italy, where his father, Joe, is playing professional basketball. One day Kobe bugs Brian Shaw, a Boston Celtics first-round pick playing in Rome because of a contract dispute, to go one-on-one. Eventually Shaw agrees to a game of H-O-R-S-E. "To this day Kobe claims he beat me," says Shaw, now a Lakers assistant. "I'm like, Right, [I'm really trying to beat] an 11-year-old kid. But he's serious." Even back then Shaw noticed something different. "His dad was a good player, but he was the opposite of Kobe, real laid-back," says Shaw. "Kobe was out there challenging grown men to play one-on-one, and he really thought he could win."

It's early 1992, and Bryant is an eighth-grader in the suburbs of Philadelphia, skinny as an unfurled paper clip. He is playing against the Lower Merion varsity in an informal scrimmage. The older teens are taken aback. "Here's this kid, and he has no fear of us at all," says Doug Young, then a sophomore. "He's throwing elbows, setting hard screens." Bryant was not the best player on the floor that day—not yet—but he was close.

It's 1995, and Bryant is the senior leader of the Lower Merion team, obsessed with winning a state championship. He comes to the gym at 5 a.m. to work out before school, stays until 7 p.m. afterward. It's all part of the plan. When the Aces lost in the playoffs the previous spring, Bryant stood in the locker room, interrupting the seniors as they hugged each other, and all but guaranteed a title, adding, "The work starts now." (Bryant remains so amped about his alma mater that when he taped a video message for the team a few years ago, it contained few of the usual platitudes and instead had Bryant reeling off a bunch of expletives and exhorting the boys to "take care of fu***** business!")

During the Kobe era at Lower Merion no moment was inconsequential, no drill unworthy of ultimate concentration. In one practice during his senior year, "just a random Tuesday," as coach Downer recalls, Bryant was engaged in a three-on-three drill in a game to 10. One of his teammates was Rob Schwartz, a 5'7" junior benchwarmer. With the game tied at nine, Schwartz had an opening, drove to the basket and missed, allowing the other side to score and win. "Now, most kids go to the water fountain and move on," says Downer. Not Bryant. He chased Schwartz into the hallway and berated him. It didn't stop there, either. "Ever get the feeling someone is staring at you—you don't have to look at them, but you know it?" says Schwartz. "I felt his eyes on me for the next 20 minutes. It was like, by losing that drill, I'd lost us the state championship."

Bryant had already begun to coax teammates into staying late or coming in at odd hours so he could hone his skills. "We'd play games of one-on-one to 100," says Schwartz. "Sometimes he'd score 80 points before I got one basket. I think the best I ever did was to lose 100--12." Imagine the focus required to score 80 freakin' baskets before your opponent scores one. And Bryant's probably still pissed that Schwartz broke double digits.

It's 1996, and the Lakers call in Bryant, fresh off his senior prom—he took pop singer Brandy, you might recall—for a predraft workout at the Inglewood High gym. In attendance are G.M. Jerry West and two members of L.A.'s media relations staff, John Black and Raymond Ridder. Bryant is to play one-on-one against Michael Cooper, the former Lakers guard and one of the premier defenders in NBA history. Cooper is 40 years old but still in great shape, wiry and long and stronger than the teenaged Bryant. The game is not even close. "It was like Cooper was mesmerized by him," says Ridder, now the Golden State Warriors' executive director of media relations. After 10 minutes West stands up. "That's it, I've seen enough," Ridder remembers West saying. "He's better than anyone we've got on the team right now. Let's go."

It would be a pattern: Bryant bearing down on players he once idolized. At Magic Johnson's summer charity game in 1998 he went after Orlando Magic star Penny Hardaway so hard—in a charity game—that Hardaway spent the fall telling people he couldn't wait to play the Lakers so he could go back at Bryant. And, more famously, Kobe attempted to go one-on-one against Jordan in the '98 All-Star Game, waving off a screen from Karl Malone. Take your pick-and-rolling butt out of here; I've got Jordan iso'd! That one didn't go over so well with the Mailman. "When young guys tell me to get out of the way," Malone said at the time, "that's a game I don't need to be in."

In Bryant's mind, however, no one is unbeatable. As a rookie with the Lakers, despite his coming straight out of high school, he approached Harris. "He said, 'Coach, if you just give me the ball and clear out, I can beat anybody in this league,'" recalls Harris. When that pitch didn't work, the 6'6" Bryant returned. "Then he'd say, 'Coach, I can post up anybody who's guarding me. If you just get me in there and clear it out, I can post up anybody.'" Harris chuckles. "I said, 'Kobe, I know you can, but right now you can't do it at a high enough rate for the team we have, and I'm not going to tell Shaquille O'Neal to get out of the way so you can do this.' Kobe didn't like it. He understood it, but in his heart he didn't accept it."

It is 2000, and Bryant is an All-Star and franchise player. Still, after guard Isaiah Rider signs as a free agent, Bryant repeatedly forces him to play one-on-one after practice—Bryant wins, of course—to reinforce his alpha alpha male status. When six-time All-Star guard Mitch Richmond arrives the next year, he gets the same. "He was the man, and he wanted us to know it," says Richmond. "He was never mean or personal about it, it's just how he was."

Not that Bryant never loses, but beat him at your own risk. Decline a rematch and ... well, that's not an option. "If you scored on him in practice or did something to embarrass him, he would just keep on challenging you and challenging you until you stayed after and played him so he could put his will on you and dominate you," says Shaw, Bryant's teammate from 1999 to 2003. This included not allowing players to leave the court. Literally. "He'd stand in our way and say, 'Nah, nah, we're gonna play. I want you to do that [move] again,'" Shaw says. "And you might be tired and say, 'Nah, I did it in practice.' But he was just relentless and persistent until finally you'd go play, and he'd go at you."

And just as he once did with Rob Schwartz, Bryant keeps NBA teammates after practice as guinea pigs. He unveils a spin move or a crossover or something else he has picked up watching tape and does it over and over and over. "The crazy thing about it is, he has the ability to put new elements in his game overnight," says George, a Laker from 1999 to 2006 and a frequent target of Kobe's requests. "He might say, 'Stay after and guard this move. Let me try it on you,' and he'll do it the next day in the game." George pauses to let this sink in. "Most of us, we'll try it alone, then we'll try it in practice, then in a scrimmage, and only then will we bring it out for a game. He'd do it the next day—and it would work."

It's 2003, and Bryant is getting worked up in an interview while talking about a variation on a move: a jab step-and-pause, where you sink deep, hesitate to let the defender relax and, instead of bringing the jab foot back, push off it. Soon enough, Bryant is out of his chair and using the reporter as a defender on the carpeted floor. Then he has the reporter trying the move. Some people are Star Wars nerds; Bryant is a basketball nerd. "I think Kobe's actually a little bit embarrassed by his love of basketball," says Downer. "People called him a loner, but it's just that basketball is all he wants to focus on. I think he's part of a dying breed that loves the game that way."

That's why Bryant gets so excited to meet kindred souls. Asked last week about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Bryant's face lit up as he remembered the time he played for Pop. "I was really hoping he'd run us through one of those rigorous practices he does," said Bryant, who got his wish. By the way, Kobe was talking about practice for the '05 All-Star Game.

It's now 2008, the Western Conference Finals. Bryant is finally where he wants to be: an MVP playing on his team, no behemoth Hall of Famer to get in the way of post-ups, within reach of a title. He is also, by almost all accounts, the best player in the league. "It's not even close," says one Western Conference scout. "The difference between him and LeBron [James] is like [the one between] a Maserati and a Volvo."

The scout has other things to say about Bryant. For example, on his weaknesses: "Um, let me think ... [long pause] ... No, I don't think he has any." On his athleticism: "There are probably 10 [with more] in the league"—he names Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Dwight Howard as examples—"but no one uses his as well as Kobe. Just watch his footwork sometime." And on his focus: "There's a difference between loving basketball and liking basketball. There are only about 30 guys in the league who love it, who play year-round. Allen Iverson loves to play when the lights come on. Kobe loves doing this sh** BEFORE the lights come on."

This thing, this freakish compulsion, may be the hardest element of the game to quantify. There are no plus-minus stats to measure a player's ruthlessness, his desire to beat his opponent so badly he'll need therapy to recover. One thing's for sure: You can't teach it. If so, Eddy Curry would be All-NBA and Derrick Coleman would be getting ready for his induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. But people know it when they see it. G.M.'s, coaches and scouts cite only a few others who have a similar drive—Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Manu Ginóbili, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Deron Williams—though they make clear that none of those stars are in Kobe's league. (In an Sports Illustrated poll earlier this season Bryant was a runaway winner as the opponent players feared most, at 35%.)

Even some of the great ones lacked it. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says that when he was young, rather than challenging everyone as Kobe does, he "just wanted peace." "I think it's a quirk of personality," says Abdul-Jabbar. "Some of us are like Napoleon, and some are Walter Mitty."

Idan Ravin, a personal trainer who works with Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand and is known by some in the league as "the hoops whisperer" for his effect on players, has even broken killer instinct down into components: love of the game, ambition, obsessive-compulsive behavior, arrogance/confidence, selfishness and nonculpability/guiltlessness. He sees them all in Bryant.

"If he's a ruthless S.O.B., I kind of respect that," says Ravin. "Why should he be passing up opportunities? Why pass it to a guy who doesn't work as hard, who doesn't want it like you do?"

Even now, every little challenge matters to Bryant. Here he is at the end of a practice last week. Each Laker has to take a free throw. Everybody hits his except Bryant, who rims one out. The only shooter left is Derek Fisher, who shot 88.3% from the line this season. Bryant stands to the side of the basket, fidgeting. As Fisher's shot arcs toward the rim, Bryant suddenly takes two quick steps and leaps to goaltend the attempt. "Of course," forward Lamar Odom says later, "he couldn't be the only one to miss."

So you see, this is Kobe, all of this. Sometimes childish, sometimes regal, sometimes stubborn, but always relentless. This is a guy who, according to Nike spokesperson KeJuan Wilkins, had the company shave a couple of millimeters off the bottom of his signature shoe because "in his mind that gave him a hundredth of a second better reaction time." A guy who has played the last three months with a torn ligament in the pinkie of his shooting hand. A guy who, says teammate Coby Karl, considers himself "an expert at fouling without getting called for it." (Watch how Bryant uses the back of his hand, not the front, to push off on defenders and a closed-fist forearm to exert leverage.) A guy who says of being guarded by the physical Bowen, "It'll be fun"—and actually means it. A guy who, no matter what he does, will never get the chance to play the one game he'd die for: Bryant versus Jordan, each in his prime. "There'd be blood on the floor by the end," says Winter, who has coached them both.

This is Kobe Bryant, age 29, in pursuit of another NBA title. Even if it's hard for us to understand him, perhaps it's time that we appreciate him.



Ronny Turiaf:

LINK
Quote:
Kobe's just an inspiration to be around – on and off the court. His leadership style is one of modeling — no one works harder than him. No one practices harder.

All you have to do is watch him, and do what he does to prepare and maintain his game — I couldn’t help but get better as I matured as a player around him — who couldn’t?

Kobe is simply the best player on the planet! LeBron is trying to get there with his body, his game, his style and his arsenal — and he will. But Kobe will still have been there first.




Trevor Ariza:

LINK
Quote:
Trevor Ariza tried to explain the other day, and he wound up stopping mid-sentence to convey what he was truly feeling.

"I used it like it was...�" he began.

Then he tilted his head back, turned his palms up and stretched those noodle arms out to his sides.

He looked to the heavens, "I used it like it was the Bible," Ariza said.

What we were talking about was the shooting-practice program given to Ariza entering the summer before this season by one Kobe Bryant.

The meaning of the gesture to Ariza - and its net effect in transforming his jump shot and thus this Lakers championship team - makes it the quintessence of the latter-day Bryant as a teammate.

"Kobe has become a giver rather than just a guy who is a demanding leader," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said upon the Lakers winning the NBA championship Sunday night. "And that's been great for him and great to watch."

Bryant has pushed forward even further in prioritizing his teammates' development. Sharing his personal shooting program with Ariza was akin to unlocking the vault.

"Getting that from him? Kind of cool, kind of cool," Ariza said. "Because before I got here, you always hear how he's this certain type of person. And when I got here, you realize he's not what everybody says he is."

"I just got in the gym every day and worked. I used what he told me, used some things that he gave me to do. And I just worked."

It worked. Ariza had made nine 3-pointers in his first four NBA seasons. This season, he made 61 as a prelude to his 47.6 percent playoff marksmanship that Bynum described with bugged-out eyes this way: "His shooting is ridiculous at this point."

Bryant made nine 3-pointers in the NBA Finals; Ariza made 10. Bryant made 37 3-pointers in the playoffs; Ariza made 40.

Twice in the second quarter Sunday night, Bryant drew defenders and kicked the ball over to Ariza, who stepped into perfect-form 3-pointers against the team that traded him. During that stretch that became a 16-0 run, the Lakers started settling on their summer smiles.

Asked about Orlando trading him to the Lakers, Ariza said: "I know they always knew that I could shoot the ball; that wasn't the issue. It was just the confidence."



Caron Butler:

LINK
Quote:
Caron Butler says he's grateful he spent a year in Los Angeles as Kobe Bryant's teammate and work out partner.

"I say that's the best thing that ever could have happened for me personally for my career," Butler said. "To play alongside a guy like that, see his preparation, see what it takes to get to that level, that's why I was able to be so good in Washington because I took everything I learned from him under his wing."

Butler played in 77 games in 2004-05 with the Lakers. He averaged a then career-high (by a tick) 15.5 points and then career-high 5.8 rebounds. His free throw shooting improved, too.

"Work ethic," Butler said. "He comes to the gym 6:30, 7 in the morning, gets shots every day, a rhythm. Afterward hits the weight room, works out in the summer, studying film, critiquing guys, watching their tendencies, picking things up ... Just studying the game with him taught me a lot."

Butler and Bryant talk every couple of weeks, and when Butler was traded to Dallas, Bryant was quick with a call.

"He told me he was happy for me and happy to see me in a situation to be able to legitimately compete for a title," Butler said.

But Wednesday will be a different conversation.

"You always hear that he's ready to compete," Butler said. "He's happy but at the same time once we get on the court all bets are off with Kobe. He's going to bring it, then hug me afterwards. That's how it is. It's business."


LINK
Quote:
[Kobe and I] it's a big brother-little brother type of relationship. How I developed as an NBA player, a lot of credit goes to him, being under his wing out there in Los Angeles.

Working out with him every morning, doing all the little things, watching his approach to the game, his mentality, a lot of that rubbed off on me.



Deron Williams:

LINK
Quote:
Deron Williams and Kobe Bryant are mutual admirers.

"I have a lot of respect for his game. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen," Williams said. "He's just a great competitor... just seeing how he works every day, it's inspiring."

Williams said he had always heard about Bryant's relentlessly competitive nature, but seeing it as a USA teammate offered a different perspective.

Williams saw a veteran player at the top of his game with an insatiable appetite to stay there. He noted that Bryant arrived a day before the rest of the USA team in Las Vegas to begin his routines in preparation for the games.

"Until you see it up close and personal, you never really know," Williams said. "Any time a guy was scoring on an opposing team, he wanted to guard him. He always wanted the toughest assignment. That's just his nature."



Kevin Durant:

LINK
Quote:
Some of the roots of what made Kevin Durant such an efficient scoring machine can be traced back to the summer of 2008 when he was trying to make the roster for Beijing and the team was given a day off in Las Vegas.

We'll let Durant pick up the story from there.

"We had the day off, but they said we could get some shots up if we wanted, so I decided to head over to the gym with [Oklahoma City teammate] Jeff Green.

"Kobe [Bryant] was the only guy on the bus to the gym, and that spoke volumes to me -- he's the best player in the game, yet he's always willing to come work on his game, so that kind of motivated me and Jeff," Durant said. "He went by himself, he got a lot of shots up, and by the time he was done you could see he had gotten better over that hour. Like I said, it was a big inspiration to me and Jeff."



Robert Horry:

LINK
Quote:
I tell people all the time I used to play with Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant is probably one of the best basketball player you'll ever see outside of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon.

The thing that makes Kobe so great, is that he's a hard worker.

And I hope the young kids would watch him and learn that you can't get anywhere unless you put in the work, the time, and the effort. And that's what Kobe does, he brings a lot of the time, and lot of the effort.

People don't know that, but he's always the 1st in the gym, and the last to leave, even though he is the best player in the game right now.



USA Basketball:

LINK and LINK
Quote:
But these 2008 Olympics have been the most remarkable three weeks of Kobe Bryant’s basketball life. He disdains the marketing “Redeem Team” title, calling it “kind of cheesy” because let’s face it: Those weren’t his international failures over the past eight years. Nike tried so hard to make LeBron James a co-star of these Games but failed miserably. He’s riding shotgun and doesn’t seem terribly thrilled about it. There’s no usurping Bryant in China.

Bryant has won the respect of his teammates, but he doesn’t run in the big cliques on the team. LeBron is the ringleader of the young players, and Kobe goes his own way. He’s won his teammates over with his ferocity, his insatiable need to win, but no one ever gets close to Bryant. He’s a loner, but he learned to lead. When all hell was breaking loose in the semifinal victory over Argentina, it was Bryant working with Jason Kidd to bring his teammates back from the brink of losing composure.

In the very first play of last summer's Tournament of the Americas, Bryant tipped the ball away from the Venezuela point guard, dived on the court trying to get it, got back up, stole the next pass and started a fastbreak. They've defended like banshees ever since.

"That's the clip Coach Mike Krzyzewski always uses, Kobe diving on the floor," says U.S. scout Tony Ronzone. "You're talking about an MVP player in the NBA who just made a statement to USA basketball... and what that did is it took our defense to another level."

"What you're seeing is something that started last summer in Las Vegas, which is amazing."


LINK and LINK
Quote:
After containing Leandro Barbosa, Kobe Bryant still had time to keep up with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

James scored 21 points, Bryant added 20 and harassed Barbosa all over the court, and the United States clinched the top spot in its group by beating Brazil 113-76 Sunday night in the FIBA Americas tournament.

"When you see Kobe Bryant diving for loose balls," USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said, "that commitment and passion, that's a message."

Bryant shadowed Brazilian star Leandros Barbosa, holding The Blur to four points on 1-for-7 shooting.

Barbosa entered averaging a tournament-best 27 points after scoring 36 Saturday in a 93-89 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands. But the Phoenix guard and NBA's top sixth man never got into this game because of Bryant's early defense, and was on the bench in foul trouble when the Americans broke open the game late in the second quarter.

"He don't guard like that in the NBA," said Barbosa. "But he did tonight and I was impressed. He came to guard me, and that was good practice for me. I learned a lot of things the way he was guarding me."



Ron Artest:

LINK
Quote:
All I can say is thank goodness for the newest Laker Ron Artest. He quickly has become the eyes and ears of Lakers fans via Twitter.

He reported Thursday that he arrived at the gym early, early in the morning for a hard workout, but once inside, he discovered he wasn't alone.

"3rd workout done. Let me tell why I LOVE KOBE JELLY BEAN BRYANT! I get to the gym at 6:45 am, the Black Mamba is there since 5:30! Go Lakers!!!"

Apparenlty Bryant, too, is eager for the season.


LINK
Quote:
Want to know the secret why Ron Artest’s shots have been looking much better as of late? It may have something to do with the Laker forward’s new practice routine. Since the series against the Utah Jazz, Artest has been coming to practice two, or sometimes three hours earlier to work on his shots.

“It was something I always used to do when I was in Sacramento,” said Artest.

The only other Laker practicing earlier in there as well? None other than Lakers superstar himself, Kobe Bryant.

“Getting to practice with Kobe… you know he is just something.”


LINK
Quote:
What are your thoughts on Kobe?

I thought you'd never ask. We'll be on the plane, playing cards. Kobe will walk up, stop the game and say, "Ron, come to the back of the plane." Then, he'll show me some tape and say, "Look at this. Here's what you need to do." I'll go back to my seat, and then he'll walk up to Shannon Brown, stop the card game and do the same thing. And it doesn't matter if you're sleeping. He'll wake you up and show you things you've never thought about. He puts so much time and passion into the game. I have no problem following somebody who's worth being followed, who works as hard as me. I will follow Kobe anywhere.



John Celestand:

LINK
Quote:
"Why Kobe Bryant Inspires Me" By John Celestand

In the fall of 1996, my roommate at Villanova, Howard Brown, and I shared a laugh. A skinny bald-headed high school kid, who was a star at the school around the corner, sat in our locker room and told us he probably wouldn’t come to Villanova. The “cocky” kid told us he would probably just skip college altogether. Instead, he would just go straight to the NBA.

We laughed that night back in our dormitory. We took turns asking each other, “Who does this kid think he is? What is he smoking?” We even tuned in the television to laugh at the kid as he gave a lackluster performance in the McDonald’s All-American game later that winter.

That kid was Kobe Bryant and now I wonder what the hell were we laughing at.

Maybe we were laughing at the fact he would play his high school playoff games in our gym and sell it out -- when sometimes we couldn’t. Maybe we were laughing at the fact he would show up on our campus at the parties we threw -- and some people thought he was the host.

One thing is for sure: Kobe Bryant believed he was Superman. He believed he could accomplish anything. This is the basic belief of many successful professional athletes. The great ones, however, seem to have a deeper and profound belief in themselves. A belief that can propel them to higher elevations that other surrounding believers never reach.

I would join the “kid” on the Lakers in 1999 when I was drafted as the No. 30 overall pick by the organization. I had followed Kobe on television for three years prior to joining the team. But TV could not illustrate how Kobe made himself. Only viewing him in person, right there in the practice facility in El Segundo, could a person get an accurate gauge. There was a reason for his greatness. There was a reason for his cockiness. Kobe prepared, he worked, he prepared and he worked again.

The first time I began to understand why he was the best was in the pre-season. In a game against the Wizards, Kobe broke the wrist on his shooting hand. He was always the first person to practice every day, arriving at least an hour and a half early. This would infuriate me because I wanted to be the first person to practice, just as I had always been at Villanova and Piscataway High in New Jersey. To add insult to injury, I lived only 10 minutes from the practice facility -- while Kobe was at least 35 minutes away.

I am ashamed to say that I was excited the day after his injury because I knew that there was no way that No. 8 (as former Laker point guard Tyronn Lue called him) would be the first to practice, if he would even be there at all.

As I walked through the training room, I became stricken with fear when I heard a ball bouncing. No, no, it couldn’t be! Yes it could. Kobe was already in a full sweat with a cast on his right arm and dribbling and shooting with his left.

As the next couple of days of practice passed, I would glance over as Phil Jackson was talking and see Kobe on the side going full speed and pulling up with his left. He was a conducting an all-out practice with himself. Lakers trainer Gary Viti, had to come in and tell Kobe to take a rest. But when Viti left, Kobe was at it again.

One day I was shooting on a side basket -- on the court that Kobe had made his own practice spot. He challenged me.

“Cele, let’s shoot," he said. "Wanna play H-O-R-S-E?”

I laughed at him. I was actually insulted that he would challenge me, a pro, to a game of horse with his left hand. After he insisted, I figured I would just whip him and prove to him that he wasn’t Superman. He couldn’t do everything.

He made shot after shot after shot. I was beginning to feel more pressure as I got each letter. First H, then O, then R, then S. I couldn’t let this man beat me with a broken shooting hand. My gosh, he was shooting threes with his left. I finally made a deep three and the stars aligned and Kobe missed. I had escaped the most embarrassing moment of my basketball life. When he missed he was infuriated.

“Come on Cele, let’s play again,” Kobe insisted

He really thought he could win and he almost did. He really thought he was Superman. He really thought I would put myself in another situation to lose all of my dignity. I laughed at him again

“Maybe later,” I replied.

When Kobe's wrist healed and he came back during the regular season, he again proved to me that he believed he could do anything. During his first game back, Kobe drove left and pulled up for a jumper. It was an airball. He shot it with his left. The result didn’t matter. The fact he attempted the shot astounded me. In an NBA game in front of thousands, the man shot a left-handed jumper. He believed it would go in. He really believed.

Today, five years later, nothing I see from or about No. 8 surprises me. It didn’t surprise me that he thought he could win without Shaquille O'Neal. It didn’t surprise me that he didn’t succeed. It won’t surprise if he comes back and succeeds this year. It didn’t surprise me that he could go to Colorado, sit in court, fly to Denver and drop game-winning shot all on the same day. It doesn’t surprise me that Kobe is averaging 36.5 points per game. It won’t surprise me if he leads the league in scoring.

I called my old roommate, Howard Brown, long distance over in Spain where he is playing professionally. We talked about life, we talked about old times. We talked about Kobe leading the league in scoring.

We both agreed Kobe’s game is no joke and we ain’t laughing no more.

_________________


Last edited by Jordan-esque on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:03 pm; edited 57 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
silkwilkes
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 6870
Location: searching for the mojo of Dr. Buss

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:39 pm    Post subject:

great thread. to think he was the most hated player in sports until this past summer...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
ElliotTheFan
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 2460
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:39 pm    Post subject:

Good stuff
_________________
I'll be the King of Australia before Bynum becomes 'the man' anywhere. <- Whoa I was right!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jordan-esque
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9347

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject:

Need help finding the stories from USA Basketball on how guys like LeBron and Wade were inspired to step up their defense after playing with Kobe Bryant in 2008...
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
kaoss128
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 13058
Location: Morgantown, WV

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:42 pm    Post subject:

Awesome post. I hope we're able to add a lot more to this. If we can get enough quotes then this thread should be added to the topic hall of fame.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Krispy Kreme
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 30 Mar 2003
Posts: 12251

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject:

it always does seem like Nike wants to promote Lebron more. But they have no choice but to promote Kobe even more because he wins, and Lebron doesnt.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
ericp6387
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 11 Feb 2004
Posts: 1740

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject:

Never after Colorado, followed by his trade demand, could I have envisioned how things have come full circle for Kobe. At 32, he is the most popular player in a league including Lebron, and he has 2 more rings. Plus, his peers, while not loving him, admire and respect him to no end. Goes to show what hard work and an amazing mindset can do when times are tough.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jacko
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 5159

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject:

big thumbs up for the thread!!

keep add more, i'm sure there are a lot more.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Reply with quote
sparky6r
Starting Rotation
Starting Rotation


Joined: 19 Dec 2009
Posts: 425

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject:




Wish the popcorn smiley was available.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Rodman28
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 21 Dec 2009
Posts: 5502

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:24 pm    Post subject:

Awesome.
_________________
*On Thin Ice*

I guess I am kind of injury prone.- Andrew Bynum

These young guys are playing checkers. I'm out there playing chess.- Kobe Bryant
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Kobetide
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 3354

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:30 pm    Post subject:

Kobe teaching all the future superstars his work ethic is a double edge sword. Competition gets tougher, but he earns the respect for releasing his regime to everyone.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jordan-esque
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9347

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject:

Thanks everyone!

Trevor Ariza's bible story just added, as well as expanded Deron William's and USA Basketball Leandro Barbosa's stories.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
pjiddy
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 25388

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:23 pm    Post subject:

nice post. thanks for taking the time. couple good reads i hadn't seen.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
TheRod
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 24 Dec 2003
Posts: 2019

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject:

Matt Barnes

Quote:
There is also that ineffable something known as will. Earlier this season Orlando's feisty Matt Barnes was standing close to Bryant when he feigned throwing a ball at Bryant's face. Bryant never even flinched. "That scared me a little," Barnes said later. "I mean, that wasn't even human."


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jack_mccallum/05/28/kobe/index.html
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
TheRod
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 24 Dec 2003
Posts: 2019

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:46 pm    Post subject:

From Hoopsworld forums:

John Celestand

Quote:
Why Kobe Bryant inspires me...
By John Celestand

Nov. 10, 2005

In the fall of 1996, my roommate at Villanova, Howard Brown, and I shared a laugh. A skinny bald-headed high school kid, who was a star at the school around the corner, sat in our locker room and told us he probably wouldn’t come to Villanova. The “cocky” kid told us he would probably just skip college altogether. Instead, he would just go straight to the NBA.

We laughed that night back in our dormitory. We took turns asking each other, “Who does this kid think he is? What is he smoking?” We even tuned in the television to laugh at the kid as he gave a lackluster performance in the McDonald’s All-American game later that winter.

That kid was Kobe Bryant and now I wonder what the hell were we laughing at.

Maybe we were laughing at the fact he would play his high school playoff games in our gym and sell it out -- when sometimes we couldn’t. Maybe we were laughing at the fact he would show up on our campus at the parties we threw -- and some people thought he was the host.

One thing is for sure: Kobe Bryant believed he was Superman. He believed he could accomplish anything. This is the basic belief of many successful professional athletes. The great ones, however, seem to have a deeper and profound belief in themselves. A belief that can propel them to higher elevations that other surrounding believers never reach.

I would join the “kid” on the Lakers in 1999 when I was drafted as the No. 30 overall pick by the organization. I had followed Kobe on television for three years prior to joining the team. But TV could not illustrate how Kobe made himself. Only viewing him in person, right there in the practice facility in El Segundo, could a person get an accurate gauge. There was a reason for his greatness. There was a reason for his cockiness. Kobe prepared, he worked, he prepared and he worked again.

The first time I began to understand why he was the best was in the pre-season. In a game against the Wizards, Kobe broke the wrist on his shooting hand. He was always the first person to practice every day, arriving at least an hour and a half early. This would infuriate me because I wanted to be the first person to practice, just as I had always been at Villanova and Piscataway High in New Jersey. To add insult to injury, I lived only 10 minutes from the practice facility -- while Kobe was at least 35 minutes away.

I am ashamed to say that I was excited the day after his injury because I knew that there was no way that No. 8 (as former Laker point guard Tyronn Lue called him) would be the first to practice, if he would even be there at all.

As I walked through the training room, I became stricken with fear when I heard a ball bouncing. No, no, it couldn’t be! Yes it could. Kobe was already in a full sweat with a cast on his right arm and dribbling and shooting with his left.

As the next couple of days of practice passed, I would glance over as Phil Jackson was talking and see Kobe on the side going full speed and pulling up with his left. He was a conducting an all-out practice with himself. Lakers trainer Gary Viti, had to come in and tell Kobe to take a rest. But when Viti left, Kobe was at it again.

One day I was shooting on a side basket -- on the court that Kobe had made his own practice spot. He challenged me.

“Cele, let’s shoot," he said. "Wanna play H-O-R-S-E?”

I laughed at him. I was actually insulted that he would challenge me, a pro, to a game of horse with his left hand. After he insisted, I figured I would just whip him and prove to him that he wasn’t Superman. He couldn’t do everything.

He made shot after shot after shot. I was beginning to feel more pressure as I got each letter. First H, then O, then R, then S. I couldn’t let this man beat me with a broken shooting hand. My gosh, he was shooting threes with his left. I finally made a deep three and the stars aligned and Kobe missed. I had escaped the most embarrassing moment of my basketball life. When he missed he was infuriated.

“Come on Cele, let’s play again,” Kobe insisted

He really thought he could win and he almost did. He really thought he was Superman. He really thought I would put myself in another situation to lose all of my dignity. I laughed at him again

“Maybe later,” I replied.

When Kobe's wrist healed and he came back during the regular season, he again proved to me that he believed he could do anything. During his first game back, Kobe drove left and pulled up for a jumper. It was an airball. He shot it with his left. The result didn’t matter. The fact he attempted the shot astounded me. In an NBA game in front of thousands, the man shot a left-handed jumper. He believed it would go in. He really believed.

Today, five years later, nothing I see from or about No. 8 surprises me. It didn’t surprise me that he thought he could win without Shaquille O'Neal. It didn’t surprise me that he didn’t succeed. It won’t surprise if he comes back and succeeds this year. It didn’t surprise me that he could go to Colorado, sit in court, fly to Denver and drop game-winning shot all on the same day. It doesn’t surprise me that Kobe is averaging 36.5 points per game. It won’t surprise me if he leads the league in scoring.

I called my old roommate, Howard Brown, long distance over in Spain where he is playing professionally. We talked about life, we talked about old times. We talked about Kobe leading the league in scoring.

We both agreed Kobe’s game is no joke and we ain’t laughing no more.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
TheRod
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 24 Dec 2003
Posts: 2019

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:56 pm    Post subject:

Read the whole article....

Rick Reilly


Quote:
What do you learn when commuting with Kobe? Before the game starts he's already put in a full day's work.
by Rick Reilly


It's 49 miles from Kobe Bryant's house in Orange County to Staples Center and yet, even in a Ferrari, it takes him 10 hours and 16 minutes.

What takes him so long? You're about to ride shotgun and find out:

7:15 a.m. Nearly $140 into a cab ride from my place, a security gate opens at the end of a very swank cul de sac to reveal Kobe Bryant, father of two, standing in front of seven vehicles—the Ferrari, the Range Rover, the Escalade, the Bentley Coupe, the two-door plastic Fred Flintstone car, the training-wheels bike and the tricycle smashed into a bush.

"You ready to go?" he asks. "I hate to be late."

I have a bag and nowhere to put it, since the Ferrari is basically a 503-horsepower engine with two seats. So he takes two helmets out of the trunk and puts the bag in.

Helmets for a car? Uh-oh.

7:21 a.m. I immediately spill my coffee in the $300,000-plus Ferrari, but how was I supposed to know he'd demonstrate its 0 to 60 mph in 3.1-seconds right at the very moment I was about to sip my delicious venti mochachino?



Trying to wipe up the puddle with my sock without him noticing and trying to be heard over the Ferrari's throaty roar, I nearly yell my interview:

Me: "Why are we leaving so early for a 6:30 Clippers game?"

Bryant: "Game day. Lots to do."


http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=4068270
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
TCroft24
Starting Rotation
Starting Rotation


Joined: 16 Jun 2010
Posts: 742

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:17 pm    Post subject:

How many championships is this guy going to win? Wow.
_________________
"Hardly." - Dr. Jerry Buss
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
PushingtheLimit
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 3814
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:19 pm    Post subject:

Epic thread is epic.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Reply with quote
Master)v(ind
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 8853

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:24 pm    Post subject:

Taken from ISH? ;o
_________________
“A story about Kobe is the first time they went to be fitted for their USA uniforms and Kobe starts crying. The equipment person asks him what happened and Kobe was like, man, you don’t understand, I’ve dreamed of playing for my country."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jordan-esque
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9347

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:37 pm    Post subject:

Great contributions guys!

TheRod wrote:
From Hoopsworld forums:

John Celestand

Quote:
Why Kobe Bryant inspires me...
By John Celestand

Loved that story when I first read it.

I'll credit you on the top.

I remember that Celestand story back in the day.
_________________


Last edited by Jordan-esque on Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
simeezee
Starting Rotation
Starting Rotation


Joined: 08 Apr 2010
Posts: 569

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:45 pm    Post subject:

very good stuff to read. this explains why the mamba is the best player in the game.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
PushingtheLimit
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 3814
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject:

At least give credit where credit is due.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Reply with quote
salvosation
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 06 Oct 2008
Posts: 2774

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject:

The greatest ever!!!!!! Period!!!!!!!! The world will know and even America is going to have to acknowledge when it is all said and done. You can take that to the bank!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Cutheon
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 10 Jul 2009
Posts: 9525
Location: Bay Area

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject:

Good (bleep).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jordan-esque
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9347

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:19 pm    Post subject:

PushingtheLimit wrote:

http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=186392

At least give credit where credit is due.


I guess it's bound to happen and spread to other sites.

I actually have an account there too.

At least the poster could've copied and pasted it in a much less messier way.

Anyway, added Robert Horry's take.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic    LakersGround.net Forum Index -> LA Lakers Lounge All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4
Jump to:  

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum






Graphics by uberzev
© 1995-2018 LakersGround.net. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Terms of Use.
LakersGround is an unofficial news source serving the fan community since 1995.
We are in no way associated with the Los Angeles Lakers or the National Basketball Association.


Powered by phpBB