“Why do you think I’m the best player in the world? Because I never ever get bored with the basics.” -Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is one of the greats, no doubt. Michael Jordan even admitted that Kobe is the only player who deserves comparison (to MJ) because he is the only one who has actually worked hard enough. Kobe’s work ethic is undeniable and if you type that in Google, there are countless great articles and videos to convince you. But what’s so great to dig into further is what Kobe works on…
Kobe is a true master of the fundamentals. Of the simple. Think about it like this: picture Kobe, already an NBA champion with the Lakers, an NBA All Star, drafted straight out of high school, in an empty gym working on his footwork? Shaq said, “You’d walk in there and he’d be cutting and grunting and motioning like he was dribbling and shooting - except there was no ball.” He worked tirelessly to perfect the basic movements-feet, hips, counter moves. Other teammates and competitors talk about how it was impossible to outwork his time in the gym. He motivated me in high school because I read about the volume of shots he put up in a summer to prepare for the next season (Kobe practices making shots, not just taking them—Kobe made 100,000 shots…in a summer).
He spoke to a group in China, and he simplified the answer to this question, “What moves can I work on to be successful.” Kobe said “I have two moves: right pull-up shoot, left pull-up shoot. In the post: turn left shoulder, fadeaway. Turn right, fadeaway. Make the game simple.” He was successful with this mindset as he trained, because he spent hours and hours and hours practicing that “simple” move. So many reps that he could unconsciously do it at the high level he needed to against the best defenders in the world. Can you imagine how boring it is to continuously work on and rep your turnaround jumper in the post? Most people stop miles before Kobe stopped.
I could go on about Kobe’s obsession with the details and how he simplified the game of basketball, but the most remarkable part of Kobe to me, and the number one reason he is one of the greats, is that he didn’t let boredom get in the way of his pursuit of his goals. He dug in, and he allowed the repetitive boring practice to become his love. Because he was so competitive-he just wanted it. The journey through that boredom to perfect his craft became so natural to him that he needed it.
Thanks for reading, and please watch this video from Alan Stein, who got to see up close and personal in 2007 how “boring” Kobe could be.
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