For 32 years, Gary Vitty worked for the Los Angeles Lakers as their athletic trainer. He witnessed the Lakers make it to the NBA finals 12 times, and Vitty worked with numerous great players in his professional career. Based on his experience, he was able to see what separates the best players from the rest, and according to Vitty, Kobe Bryant showed him success has nothing to do with talent.
Vitty worked quite a lot with Kobe Bryant and was able to see firsthand the amount of hard work Bryant was putting into getting a better player. He said he saw several players in his professional career who were more talented than Kobe Bryant, but none was obsessed with Kobe becoming the best player.
“Kobe was talented, but he wasn’t the most talented guy out there. I’m telling you, and I’ve seen em all, there’s nothing really special about Kobe. There were other players that had more talent than he did. So what was it about him that more talented players had 0 rings and he ended up with 5? Let’s go back to that talent thing. Kobe taught me that talent is the most overrated thing in life. It’s what you do with your talent. And this is what he did. He not only worked harder than anyone else, but he also worked smarter than anyone else. He was intellectually brilliant at his job.”
Garry Vitty,via 32 Years of Titles and Tears From the Best Seat in the House
Vitty also shared an amusing anecdote that is the best example of Kobe’s dedication to his craft. At halftimes, players would take a short break from the game by using their phones to check messages or emails and pretty much getting disconnected from the game itself. On the other hand, Kobe would use that time to watch game film from the first half to see how to adapt his game and be more successful in the second half.
“When we would come in at halftime, players would grab their phones and look at tweets, messages, and emails, Kobe was in the training room with a laptop watching film from the first half to see how he could be better in the second half. And then he was tough. He took can’t and won’t out of his lexicon, and he just believed he could do it.”
Garry Vitty, via 32 Years of Titles and Tears From the Best Seat in the House
That is just one of many stories that prove how dedicated Bryant was to become the best player he can be. He was intelligent enough to understand talent is an excellent thing if you combine it with hard work because that is the only recipe to achieve all the things he did in his long and illustrious career.