One of the most famous sayings in sports, in general, ‘is hard work beats talent’ any day of the week. That can be applied to any sport that requires players to polish their skill set, primarily until a certain age when talent is no longer enough to make to the next step. The late great Kobe Bryant is one of those players who, from an early age, knew that working hard on his craft is the only way he would be the best basketball player he could be. It turned out Kobe is considered a top ten NBA player of all-time, and throughout his illustrious career, he always emphasized the importance of putting in hours to perfect his craft.
A lot of former and current NBA players believe being a part of the NBA is something they are entitled to when actually it’s a privilege you have to earn. In an interview with Valuetainment, Bryant talked about how he was surprised by the lack of effort, a lot of players had when he came to the NBA as a teenager. By then, Kobe knew he would have to outwork everybody to become great, so seeing players who are only playing because of money and lack of passion was a clear indicator he could be better than everyone.
The NBA was actually easier because what I found out in the NBA is that a lot of guys play for financial stability. When they came to the NBA, they got that financial stability, so, therefore, the passion and the work ethic and the obsessiveness is gone. So I’m looking at that, and I’m like it’s going to be like taking candy from a baby. No wonder Mike wins all these championships.Kobe Bryant, via Valuetainment
Not all players lack the passion for the sport, but the conscious decision to put all your eggs in one basket and go for it is a risk not many are willing to take. Kobe made that decision pretty early on and saw numerous talented players waste their potential because they are preoccupied with other things. It’s understandable when players have families, and obviously, you need to balance work and personal life, but Kobe managed to do just that having a large family of his own.
And then you have the players that have that passion but weren’t willing to commit their entire lives doing that, so choice. You have other things. You have a family, you have all these other things you need to do, so the game can’t really be your number one priority. Looking at that, I thought this was going to be fun.Kobe Bryant, via Valuetainment
Several other NBA players remember Kobe as someone completely obsessed with basketball and the desire to get better at every single aspect of the game. There were countless stories of his rigorous workout regimes and determination rarely seen in basketball, but also other sports as well. The genuine commitment and passion for the game is what separates the good from the great, and Kobe immediately knew how to use that to his advantage.