Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. Some say he is possibly the greatest Laker ever. Two jersey numbers in the rafters at the STAPLES Center prove this.
Kobe took over games in ways that not many players could. His mentality on and off the court is one of the main reasons why he is one of the very best to ever do it.
Eduardo Solano, from FOX Sports Radio 1340 AM Hopewell and AccuScore, wrote this about Kobe Bryant last year:
“Kobe’s grueling cardio workouts gave him an edge throughout his career. He could run all day long. Bryant knew that if someone wants to be a great basketball player, they have to be in great shape.”
In his book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, Kobe also discussed how everyone talks about his fancy workouts and training sessions and then he explained that he worked relentlessly to make sure that his legs and lungs were always at peak performance.
Kobe also went over playing through the pain. Right after he hurt his finger on December 11, 2019, trainer Gary Vitti assessed the injury, trying to gauge how bad it was. After an X-ray, Vitti told Bryant that it was fractured.
Bryant’s reaction was: “Alright, cool, now get me back out there.” Vitti looked at Kobe like he was crazy and this is what happened next:
“I asked him, “Is it going to get better?” He said no. I said, “Exactly, there’s nothing we can do about it now and it can’t get worse, so tape it up and let’s go.”
Bryant explained that from that point forward, they would apply a splint, which was like a hard cast at the bottom and top portion of his finger. Then they would wrap it over and over again with a spongy elastic tape.
“The ball would, physically, still hurt when it hit my finger,” Kobe explained. “But mentally, I knew I had protection absorbing some of the pain and I could play through the rest. We did that, literally, every time out on the court. Shootaround, practice, game. I mean, every time out.”
Gary Vitti recently appeared on Scoop B Radio with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson and said that while Kobe’s teammates were looking at their phones at halftime, Bryant was studying tape.
“Kobe was in the training room with a laptop looking at cuts in the first half so he could figure out how he could counter it in the second half.”