Chris Bosh Says Kobe Bryant Was 'Inspiration' for LeBron, Wade at '08 Olympics

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJuly 1, 2020

FILE - Team USA's Kobe Bryant pops his shirt as he celebrates after beating Spain, 118-107, in the men's gold medal basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing. All it took was finally getting the world's best player in uniform. someone so good deserves to be considered among the candidates for The Associated Press' Athlete of the Decade. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)
Dusan Vranic/Associated Press

Former NBA star Chris Bosh has spent part of the summer blogging about his time with the Miami Heat alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade—specifically focusing on the title years of 2012 and 2013. 

In his most recent post on Wednesday, Bosh explained how quickly Wade and James began preparing for the 2012-13 season after having just won the title the year before. The inspiration for the sudden turnaround was Kobe Bryant, who the three played with on the 2008 USA Basketball team that won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.  

Bryant, Bosh wrote, set the tone for the entire team beginning on the first day of practice in 2008:

"Not only was [Bryant] the first to breakfast, but he also had ice bags on his knees, which meant he'd already worked out. 

"Mind you, this was less than two weeks after the Lakers lost in the Finals to the Celtics. You couldn't have blamed him for resting up and focusing on being healthy for the next season. But instead, the dude was pushing himself harder than any human being I had ever met—waking up at 4:00 a.m. to hit the gym. That meant all of us were gonna push ourselves, too. 

"With Kobe as an inspiration, D and Bron elevated their games that summer, balling out at practices at a level I'd never seen before. And they, in turn, inspired me. Hell, we all inspired each other. Because we knew that if we didn't step up, there was no way we'd get playing time."

Bosh is not the first member of that Olympic team to wax on about the effect Bryant had. 

Shortly after Bryant's death in a helicopter crash in January, Carlos Boozer told Branson Wright of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Bryant's intense workout schedule became the team's schedule.

"By the second week, we all joined him during his routine and we called ourselves 'The Breakfast Club,'" Boozer said. "We avenged that loss in 2004. We won the gold because of Kobe."

This was the Mamba Mentality before it went mainstream and it stayed with Miami's Big Three five years later after winning their first NBA title. 

Bosh writes that following a vacation with his family, only weeks after winning the championship in 2012, he came back to James bragging about his new moves and the work he'd been up to.

"When Lebron told me he'd reinvented his post game in the first few weeks of the 2012 offseason, I knew I had to step it up," Bosh said. "And I did. Quickly, our team's mantra became 'Repeat.' And with new additions to our team, like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, we were confident we would do it, as long as we kept the intensity at level 10."

It doesn't even require much digging to see how James was able to improve himself that offseason. In 2011-12, James shot 55.6 percent on two-pointers. The following year he was up to 60.2 percent. The Heat successfully defended their title and established themselves as one of the all-time great trios. 

Bosh believes that doesn't happen without Bryant's influence years earlier. What began at the Olympics continued every day for the athletes who were on the '08 team. It became their driving force and helped them push each other for those four high-energy years in Miami. 

"Every day, I was inspired by Bron and D-Wade to push myself harder and reach higher," Bosh said. "Not a practice went by during our four years playing together where they didn't encourage me to leave everything on the floor; and I'd like to think I did the same for them."