“Kobe, do you sleep man?”
Byron Scott was the coach of the L.A. Lakers from 2014 to 2016. The team was undergoing a massive rebuild at that time, but Kobe did Kobe things and was still obsessed with improving his game and trying anything to help the Lakers notch wins. Scott shared that he received messages from the Black Mamba at 4 in the morning to discuss practice.
“He would text me like 4 in the morning. ‘Coach, what are we doing for pratice tomorrow?’ I’d say, ‘What the fuck? What are you texting me at 4 in the morning, for man? Kobe, do you sleep, man?’”
Bryant responded straight up that he wasn’t able to sleep. The 6’6” combo guard then revealed the things he had been working on to his coach, even if Scott had already told Kobe to take it easy and he didn’t have to prepare so much.
Let’s remember Kobe was already 36 or 37 at that time, so he didn’t have to do so much of the heavy lifting for the Lakers, but that’s Kobe for you.
Kobe regrets sleeping less in his entire career
Bryant would later admit he regretted that he didn’t sleep enough when he had the chance. The Black Mamba revealed he would get four hours of sleep regularly, and it soon caught up to him, resulting in poor game results.
“What made the lightbulb come on was when I went out there and played the game and played like crap. And I was like, ‘Why am I playing like crap?’ Because I’ve been practicing these same moves over and over and over. But yet, I couldn’t execute them properly. I was feeling sluggish, I was feeling lethargic, and I knew it wasn’t because of my training because I had trained obsessively. Maybe the fact [I was] sleeping two, three hours a night had something with the fact [I was] playing like crap.”
Kobe became the victim of his greatness. The standards he set for himself and others were incredibly high, and he had the discipline and tenacity to maintain them at that level for over 2 decades. Bryant was so obsessed with the game to the point that his body started to break down.
Kobe lost sleep in his quest for greatness. It made him different and aspirational compared to other great NBA players. If he were alive today, he probably wouldn’t change a single thing about his process and would apply it to all the other ventures he was getting himself into after his illustrious NBA career.