More than just a basketball legend, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant knew what it takes to be the GOAT – and this meant putting in a lot of work to achieve it. When asked how he would recruit players to join him at the Lakers (the team he was in for 20 years playing alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard), he said: “If you want first place, come play with me, if you want second place, go somewhere else.”
Here are some of his work ethics that made him one of the greatest on the court.
He worked hard to get results
Being great did not just come from hard work; for Kobe, it also came from wanting to improve himself and be disciplined about it – like waking up at 4am every day to begin his workout, even during his retirement!
Another notable tale of his hard work is his conditioning training where he rented three bikes for himself, his long-time coach and security as they embarked on a 40-mile bike ride. The day before the first official team practice session, the trio headed out for the ride finishing at 2 a.m. And guess what, Kobe was up and ready for practice by 7:30am.
His intense workout routine proved to be effective – so much so that according to Carlos Boozer, Kobe’s teammate on Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Kobe’s workout soon became the team’s workout.
He was constantly learning
Being on the court every day for 20 years, Kobe always looked for his strengths and weaknesses be it his jumping, speed or even hand size. He would always ask, “How can I make this better? I was quick but not insanely quick. I was fast but not ridiculously fast. I had to rely on skill a lot more, I had to study the game,” he said during an interview. “My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure,’ that is almost worse than death.”
He pushed himself
Even after his retirement, he still did what he does best – to win! He wrote and narrated the short animated film Dear Basketball in 2017 based on his retirement letter, which went on to win an Oscar award.
There were sacrifices too…
Back in 2015, Kobe spoke about how his work ethic and drive made it hard for him to maintain close relationships with friends and maintaining great relationships is something he missed out on. and that he can never have. But Kobe was prepared to live that life knowing what would come out of it. He talked about how he would be texting Lebron James every now and then but nurturing a relationship was not something that he had the time for. “Being a ‘great friend’ is something I will never be. I can be a good friend. But not a great friend.”
The impact he left on the world will always be remembered. He didn’t just turn people into Lakers fans; he made people basketball fans. Check out the tribute paid to him by the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs a day after Kobe’s tragic passing here.