After 20 years in the NBA, many personal achievements and won championships, one of the things that separated Kobe Bryant from the others is the amount of work he was willing to put in to become the greatest player in the history of the game. It has long been known that Kobe Bryant is one of the hardest workers in the history of the NBA, and here, in some rare insight, we hear from his fellow players and coaches of his incredible work ethic.
We picked out our favorite Kobe stories that illustrate just how hard he works.
1. 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.”
2. 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.”
3 Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) in 2009 After Signing with LA
“3rd workout done. Let me tell you 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!!!”
4. NBA Legend Jerry West Talks Kobe a Few Years Ago
What’s most impressive about this young man is 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.”
5. 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.”