Sunday night, I went to the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against Oklahoma City. This was the game where Kobe Bryant decided to play his own game of HORSE within the game. I had great seats in the 2nd row behind the Lakers’ bench. I looked straight at the free throw line where Kobe banked in the left-handed buzzer-beater.
Bryant is the most skilled player in the game. It is not due to his genes, though having an athletic 6’6 body helps. However, Kobe works at his game harder than anyone else.
So, if you are an aspiring player, and Kobe with all his advantages of size, muscles, athleticism, upbringing, etc. works that hard to make himself even better every year, what are you doing? Do you say that you want to be a great player or do you work to make it happen?
A recent New York Times’ article highlights Kobe’s drive to be the best and the measures that he takes:
He is rarely without a portable DVD player queued to games…after a New York Times Magazine article depicted the Houston Rockets’ Shane Battier’s use of analytical data to guard Bryant, he went to [personal trainer Tim] Grover’s assistant and requested the same type of report on the Rockets’ tendencies.
Beyond the mental preparation for each game and opponent, he also uses the off-season to improve:
Bryant also visited the former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon over the summer for a tutorial on low-post play. They worked for five hours before Bryant left with another aspect to his game. “It’s one thing to look at players do this, do that, look at Hakeem’s post moves, spin moves, this, that and the other and then it’s another thing to really understand them, get the details of them and the little nuances of them and that’s what he shared with me,” Bryant said of Olajuwon.
Among others, he has impressed USA Senior National Team Assistant Coach and New York Knicks’ Head Coach Mike D’Antoni:
“He’s always trying a new angle,” Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni said Monday. “His work ethic is better than anybody I’ve seen, so he’s going to improve.”
He added, “Whether he can do the same things he could do when he was younger, I don’t know, but he’ll keep getting to be a better basketball player.”
Finally, Lakers’ assistant coach Jim Cleamons added:
“We’re seeing the evolution of an outstanding basketball player who’s not satisfied.”
Are you satisfied? Do you have big dreams and a small work ethic? Do you hope to be a good player or do you work to improve a little day by day? Do you practice in proportion to your aspirations?