After his Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Miami Heat, what did Kobe Bryant do? Go out and party? Get back to the hotel and rest his aching body? Call his family?
Gladiator and warrior Bryant did what is the most rare of rare in the NBA. He stayed in the road arena and worked on his game. Not for 30 minutes, but for an hour and a half. Players might do that at home, get an after-game workout in, but on the road? Never.
If you ever wanted to know what separates Bryant from the pack, this is it. At the end of this workout, he quoted the Greek legend Achilles, “I want what all men want. I just want it more.”
Whether you like him or not, Bryant is unlike nearly anything the league has ever seen. He won’t stop working, can’t stop.
After a tight loss that really didn't mean anything in the grand scheme of the season, the loss meant everything to Bryant. It said, “Got more work to do.”
Bryant played well last night, scoring 24 points, but was outplayed by the Heat’s Dwyane Wade in the final—and most important—fourth quarter. That’s normally when Bryant shines. Last night, he stalled.
His teammates knew it, the Heat knew it, and most importantly, Bryant knew it.
So Bryant did what he does best—he went back to the arena.
But last night's usual training session was less about work and more about the gladiator and warrior sending a message. He wanted to remind everyone, especially the Heat, that he’s willing to do anything to win the title.
And, say what you want, the title still goes through LA, and Bryant is still the single Lakers player that will make or break another title run. That’s because an elite Kobe Bryant changes everything.
An All-Star level Bryant isn’t good enough. That player isn’t the game changer. We saw that player last night in Miami. A great All-Star, but not the superstar—especially in the fourth.
For the Lakers to win it all again and allow Bryant to tie another great warrior, Michael Jordan, LA needs Bryant firing on all cylinders.
He’s finally relatively healthy and his lift has returned. Any question of that, see his dunks in this year’s All-Star game, including the breakaway past LeBron James.
But Bryant knows his real time is coming. The playoffs are where he’ll leave everything on the court and either hoist another NBA trophy or be carried out of the arena on his shield.
That’s because Bryant knows what it really, really, really takes to be great. And, the simple fact is that he wants what others want but more than anyone.
Last night, Bryant got back in the gym immediately following that loss and sent the message to the Heat, to the NBA and most importantly, to himself. Leave it all on the court.
Who is Kobe Bryant? Want to learn the details of Kobe Bryant’s legendary work ethic? Or why Kobe considers himself a “talented overachiever” or an “outcast” for much of his life? Check out the new book, The Kobe Code: Eight Principles For Success- An Insider's Look into Kobe Bryant's Warrior Life & the Code He Lives By, at www.PatMixon.com.