Former NBA player Robert Horry made a career of hitting big shots when it mattered the most while at the same time winning seven championships with three different teams. Even though he was never the best individual player on either of those teams, Horry has this remarkable ability to be in the right place at the right time, making the right play. When he joined the Lakers, he teamed up with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, and in one of his recent interviews, Horry talked about Kobe and his competitive nature and desire to be the best he could be no matter what he set his mind on doing.
We all remember Kobe as a winner and a true champion, but in this specific story, Horry shares there was one thing that he and a few others players on the Lakers at that time did better than Kobe. During their practices, they would often play the string game in which players compete on who makes the most threes. At that time, the Lakers had quite a few great shooters on their squad, and according to Horry, they would often play this game, mainly because Kobe insisted on playing even though he barely won.
Horry remembers Kobe acting like a kid every time they came to practice, wanting to play the game even though he was regularly losing. Kobe's competitive spirit was powerful, and Horry remembers how he and all the other players were surprised when Kobe would score 50, 60 points against other NBA teams but could never beat them in the string game.
Kobe was a great guy, and we used to play this game in practice where we would shoot threes. It's called the string game, and Kobe would come up to play with us, and be knocked out every time. He would get to practice an hour early before us shooting threes. And he acted like a little kid asking, 'are we playing the string game today, come on let's play the string game.' He was so competitive because he was getting beat that he wanted to finally beat us, and he never beat us. It was me, Brian Shaw, Mitch Richmond, and Derek Fisher. He could never win, but the next thing you know, he is scoring 61 points in the game, shooting threes all over the place, but he is a competitor.
There were countless stories from other NBA players and coaches that prove Kobe's determination and competitiveness propelled him to be the NBA legend. On top of that, he was the ultimate winner setting the bar high for him and his teammates, however even Kobe couldn't win in everything, and this story by Horry proves that. However, the simple fact Kobe lost so many times in that game and was still willing to compete against Horry and other guys on the team is the x-factor that only true winners possess. Failure often leads to success, which Kobe understood better than many other players in the league.