Mamba Mentality — the two words that best describe Kobe Bryant. There has never been and will probably never be a player so determined to improve his basketball craft. Here are five examples which prove he was a basketball fanatic with unparalleled work ethic.
1. He would practice without the ball, by himself for hours
Kobe was always super meticulous in his analysis and approach to the game of basketball. Known for having an insane and unparallel work ethic, he would always seek a way to challenge the boundaries of his body and mind, especially in practice.
Here’s what Shaquille O’Neal mentioned in his recent book:
“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. I thought it was weird, but I’m pretty sure it helped him.”
2. Insane workouts on game days
Kobe was notorious for pushing the limits and often even punishing his body with crazy intense workouts. The casual observer would probably say that it’s crazy to workout and push yourself to the maximum intensity right before a game. You’d have to be a lunatic to do that. Well, Kobe Bryant was a lunatic. What better way to prepare yourself for a game than to simulate game intensity a few hours ahead of the contest 🙂
3. Injury prevention
Bryant’s daily injury prevention routine consisted of knee icing for 20 minutes, three times a day along with acupuncture. Kobe left a blueprint for many basketball players on not only how to play the game of basketball, but how to play the game of basketball for a long time. Two words, injury prevention. Kobe Bryant was the industry standard and started investing vast amounts of money in keeping his body healthy. From cryotherapy, hyperbaric chambers, NormaTec leg boots, to good old icing and acupuncture.
4. He Would Sacrifice Sleep for Success
Sleep deprivation makes you a better basketball player, according to Kobe Bryant. Kobe would often start his days around 4, 4:30 am with a practice. Getting up early is a challenge for everyone and investing the additional few hours into your craft while your competition is still sleeping was the key to Kobe’s success. The additional hours, days and weeks accumulate quickly, and your competition is no longer a match for you.
5. Dissecting Game Film
Kobe loves watching game film. So much so, that he decided to start a video series called “Detail” that I’m sure many of you’ve seen. Kobe is an expert at analyzing basketball game film and dissecting every millisecond of the game. Every screen and every close out, every charge not taken and every shot missed — Kobe sees it all. Visualization is crucial and watching the game film over and over again gives you a great bird’s eye perspective and perhaps helps you anticipate plays better.