Los Angeles Lakers: 3 Lessons Kobe Bryant taught us

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1.) There is no substitute for hard work

Kobe Bryant’s work ethic was second to none. Even though he had tremendous athletic ability, he coupled that with a near maniacal drive to become one of the greatest players of all time. Every year he was in the league, he found new ways to improve his game, which was done on the back of hundreds, if not thousands of hours in the gym.

When he air-balled those 3-pointers in the waning moments of the 1998 Western Conference semifinals, he resolved to improve his strength, conditioning and jumpshooting ability. Here’s an excerpt from an interview Bryant did with Mark Medina.

"“It was an early turning point for me in being able to deal with adversity, deal with public scrutiny and self-doubt,” Bryant recalled. “At 18 years old, it was gut-check time.” Bryant responded to that gut-check time by going to Palisades High shortly after the Lakers landed in Los Angeles that night. Then, Bryant worked on his shot “until the sun came up.” He spent the rest of his offseason repeating that routine every day."

After being criticized by head coach Phil Jackson for his shot selection and propensity to play too much ‘hero ball’, he worked on his playmaking ability, and at the behest of Jackson, focused on playing within the triangle offense, and being a part of a whole, instead of a one-man show.

As Bryant got older, and his athleticism started to decline, he was determined to remain a lethal scorer. He achieved this by working on his post-up game, tapping greats like Hakeem Olajuwan to teach him their secrets, and spending hours on his footwork, coming up with counters upon counters for whatever his opponents threw at him. The end result was a nearly flawless combination of skills, basketball IQ, and raw talent.

After retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016, Kobe jumped headfirst into a whole new world of ventures and opportunities. He worked on improving Bryant-Stibel, an investing firm he started in 2013, that quickly became a model for success that many athletes such as Kevin Durant, and LeBron James have been eager to replicate.

Kobe himself has mentioned his love of movies and storytelling, and shortly before his retirement, penned a beautiful love letter to his career entitled “Dear Basketball” that he produced into an animated short film that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 2018.

The bottom line is that all of Kobe Bryant’s success was achieved through hard work, determination, and a drive to be the best version of himself.