Start of USA national team training camp in Las Vegas in 2008, just 10 days after Celtics won in NBA finals against the Lakers. “We all came to eat, it was first team breakfast of the camp” Bosh recalled, “And Kobe comes in with ice on his knees and with his trainers and stuff. He’s got sweat drenched through his workout gear. And I’m like, ‘It’s 8 o’clock in the morning, man. Where in the hell is he coming from?” Dwyane Wade added, “Everybody else just woke up. We’re still stretching and yawning, and he’s already three hours and a full workout into his day.”
That is the story that best describes the passion Kobe Bryant had for the game. When someone says work ethic and hard work, you think of Black Mamba.
“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”, John Celestand, former Kobe’s teammate wrote in his blog, “I am ashamed to say that I was excited the day after his injury because I knew that there was no way that he 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 John Celestand said, his competitiveness was unmatched. Kobe was always first one to come to the gym, and the last one to leave it. That is what he had to do to achieve everything in his career. And list of his achievements is insane:
- 18x All-star,
- 15x All-NBA team,
- 5x NBA champion,
- 2x Scoring champion,
- 2x Finals MVP,
- 1x MVP,
- 12x All-defensive team,
- 2 retired numbers,
- 1 Oscar,
- And that legendary, 81 point performance vs Raptors…
Happy Birthday, and Mamba day, to one of the best to ever play the game, Kobe Bryant!