Kobe Bryant is the next best thing to Michael Jordan. For sure some of you may disagree, given how LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors are both playing the past few years.
Kobe's achievements and his impact to the world of basketball is what separates him to the rest of highly skilled NBA players of this generation. Although he is not on his prime anymore and he is quite old, you can still feel his effect whenever he steps on the court. His impact to the NBA is beyond his legendary skills and high basketball IQ. For many analysts, NBA greats and former coaches and teammates, his work dedication and winning attitude is what makes him the best NBA player ever since Michael Jordan.
Below are some of the most outstanding and motivational stories of Kobe Bryant regarding his work ethic and attitude off and on the court. Most of them are told by his former teammates, coaches and people who he personally know.
WARNING: These stories will surely make you work harder than ever, you've been warned!
1) Michael Jordan’s Thoughts from His 2012 Biography Author
Lazenby on why Jordan thinks Bryant deserves being compared to him: “Kobe had done the work. He [Jordan] was very aware and taking in great interest in Kobe Bryant’s great work ethic. Michael Jordan’s work ethic also is legendary. He said Kobe had done that work to deserve the comparison. He says Kobe’s the only one to have done the work.”
2) Carlos Boozer’s Reflections from the 2008 Olympics
“You know what it was for me? And me and him are good friends, but I hadn’t really trained with him — is how hard he works. We saw his dedication to the game. He would get in the gym, lift weights, he would go over to the gym, get shots up before practice, go through the whole practice, and that was his routine every day.
“He’s not great by accident is my point. He puts the work in. And I think what I learned about Kobe is he’s so hungry to be good, he puts the work in. I just think his hunger and his determination is what I was most impressed with.”
3) Jason Kidd’s Impressions from the 2008 Olympics
“Kobe was great. He practices as if it’s Game 7. He wants to prove that he’s the best player in the world every single practice.”
4) Jim Boeheim’s Thoughts from 2008 Olympics
“Kobe, from day one, is just the hardest-working player I’ve ever been around. He just does an unbelievable job. He came in, he worked out before practice and practiced harder than anybody and then worked out afterwards and continued the whole trip. The first trip we are qualifying and then the Olympics themselves.
“He’s just an unbelievable competitor and in practice goes 100 percent every day in practice and that brings everybody else up to that same level. He was a huge part of us being ready in the Olympics to be able to win. Of course, when we needed a big shot, he made a big shot against Spain.”
5) Gary Payton Remembers Kobe’s Early Words in the League
Kobe was so young and so immature in some ways, but I can tell you this: everything Kobe is doing now, he told me all the way back then he was going to do it. We were sitting on the bus once and he told me, “I’m going to be the number one scorer for the Lakers, I’m going to win five or six championships, and I’m going to be the best player in the game.” I was like, “Okay, whatever.” Then he looked me right in the eye and said, “I’m going to be the Will Smith of the NBA.”
6) Shaq Reflects on Kobe in 2011 Memoirs
“Kobe is a scientific dawg. He works out every day, practices every day. Most of the other stars are just dawgs, not scientific dawgs.
“Me, I’m a freak-of-nature dawg because of my size. LeBron could be a scientific dawg like Kobe, but he’s not, he’s got a lot going on like I did, so that’s preventing him from being one.”
7) Kevin Durant Reflects on Playing with Kobe on 2008 Olympic Team
Some of the roots of what made Durant such an efficient scoring machine can be traced back to the summer of 2008 when he was trying to make the roster for Beijing and the team was given a day off in Las Vegas.
We’ll let Durant pick up the story from there.
“We had the day off, but they said we could get some shots up if we wanted, so I decided to head over with [Oklahoma City teammate and Team USA hopeful] Jeff Green.
“Kobe [Bryant] was the only guy on the bus, and that spoke volumes to me — he’s the best player in the game, yet he’s always willing to come work on his game, so that kind of motivated me and Jeff,” Durant said. “He went by himself, he got a lot of shots up, and by the time he was done you could see he had gotten better over that hour. Like I said, it was a big inspiration to me and Jeff.”
8) Deron Williams on Kobe Circa 2008
“I have a lot of respect for his game. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen,” Williams said. “He’s just a great competitor. . . . Just seeing how he works every day, it’s inspiring.
“Until you see it up close and personal, you never really know. Any time a guy was scoring on an opposing team, he wanted to guard him. He always wanted the toughest assignment. That’s just his nature.”
9) Ron Artest (A.K.A. Metta World Peace, The Panda's Friend) in 2009 After Signing with LA
“3rd workout done. Let me tell why I LOVE KOBE “JELLY BEAN”BRYANT! I Get to the gym at 6:45,the Black Mamba gets there at 5:30! Go Lakers!!!”
10) John Celestand on Kobe During 99′-’00 Season
“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. This would infuriate me because I wanted to be the first person to practice, just as I had always been at Villanova and Piscataway High in New Jersey. To add insult to injury, I lived only 10 minutes from the practice facility — while Kobe was at least 35 minutes away.
“I am ashamed to say that I was excited the day after his injury because I knew that there was no way that No. 8 (as former Laker point guard Tyronn Lue called him) 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.”
11) Robert Horry Talks About His Time with Kobe
“I tell people all the time I used to play with Kobe Bryant.
“Kobe Bryant is probably one of the best basketball player you’ll ever see outside of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon.
“The thing that makes Kobe so great, is that he’s a hard worker.
“And I hope the young kids would watch him and learn that you can’t get anywhere unless you put in the work, the time, and the effort. And that’s what Kobe does, he brings a lot of the time, and lot of the effort.
“People don’t know that, but he’s always the 1st in the gym, and the last to leave, even though he is the best player in the game right now.”
12) Caron Butler Credits Kobe for His Career
Caron Butler says he’s grateful he spent a year in Los Angeles as Kobe Bryant’s teammate and work out partner.
“I say that’s the best thing that ever could have happened for me personally for my career,” Butler said. “To play alongside a guy like that, see his preparation, see what it takes to get to that level, that’s why I was able to be so good in Washington because I took everything I learned from him under his wing.”
Butler played in 77 games in 2004-05 with the Lakers. He averaged a then career-high (by a tick) 15.5 points and then career-high 5.8 rebounds. His free throw shooting improved, too.
“Work ethic,” Butler said. “He comes to the gym 6:30, 7 in the morning, gets shots every day, a rhythm. Afterward hits the weight room, works out in the summer, studying film, critiquing guys, watching their tendencies, picking things up … Just studying the game with him taught me a lot.”
13) Ronnie Turiaf Calls Kobe Bryant the Best on the Planet in 2009
“Kobe’s just an inspiration to be around – on and off the court. His leadership style is one of modeling — no one works harder than him. No one practices harder.
“All you have to do is watch him, and do what he does to prepare and maintain his game — I couldn’t help but get better as I matured as a player around him — who couldn’t?
“Kobe is simply the best player on the planet! LeBron is trying to get there with his body, his game, his style and his arsenal — and he will. But Kobe will still have been there first.”
14) Laron Profit Recalls His Time in LA in 2005
“You know it was so funny, my first experience when I was out in LA, me and Kwame Brown got traded to the Lakers [in Summer of 2005]. We were playing a pick-up game before the season started, we were playing 3-on-3, and it was game point.
“Kobe had the ball and it came off, Kwame knocked the ball away from him.
“Again [this was] a pick-up game, September, nothing on the line. And the ball rolled to half court.
“Kobe then ran to half-court, dived under Kwame’s legs with the ball for about 10 feet, picked the ball up, came back down, made some incredible move, then hit the game-winning shot to end the pick-up game.
“I walked off the court, and I called my mom, and I said, “I think I’ve just seen the second best player ever [behind Jordan].”
“But then around him, you understand that nothing he does is by accident, that all this is a result of hours and hours and hours of preparation. So that when he gets into a situation in a game, in a playoffs game, in a Finals game, his confidence comes from his prepration.
“He once told me at a halftime of a game, he was struggling, I think we were playing Seattle [Sonics] and he was struggling, and I asked him, “How do you feel?” and he said, “I feel great! The second half… the second half. Hey Prof, I work too hard. These shots HAVE to fall eventually because I’ve worked too hard, I’ve shot too many shots.”
“So his belief in himself… when we look at it and see it as arrogance, some people see as may have too much confidence. It’s really just a result of how hard he works, of how much preparation time he puts in his game. That once he steps on the court, he really believes that he will be successful. And that’s what I think I took away from him more than anything else, it’s that your belief in yourself has to come from your confidence and your preparation.
15) NBA Legend Jerry West Talks Kobe a Few Years Ago
“What’s most impressive about this young man are his desire, his work ethic, his competitive nature. [Bryant] comes to the arena at 4:30, before anybody is here, and works on his game alone. He has incredible skills and the desire to be a great player.
“We’re extremely happy with Kobe’s development – and we think he’s going to keep improving. You haven’t seen the best of Kobe yet.”
Kobe Bryant's greatness didn't happen by accident. It happened by choice. He chose to be great and he puts the work into it. So if you want to be better or be like Kobe or be like Mike, you have to put the patience, time and hardwork in terms of attaining your ultimate goal!