Why? — his insane work ethic.
A few Kobe stories that illustrate just how hard he works:
- Showed up at 5 a.m. for practice and did not leave until 7 p.m. … in high school
- He used to practice by himself without a ball,
o Shaq wrote in his book: “You’d walk in there and he’d be cutting and grunting and motioning like he was dribbling and shooting — except there was no ball.”
- He counts all of his made shots in practice, and stops when he gets to 400
- He trains for four hours a day during the season, and more than that in the off-season
- This quote about how he wants to be remembered: ‘To think of me as a person that’s overachieved, that would mean a lot to me. That means I put a lot of work in and squeezed every ounce of juice out of this orange that I could.’
Story courtesy of an anonymous athletic trainer: All the Team USA players were there, feeling good for the first scrimmage. LeBron was talking to Carmelo if I remember correctly and Coach Krzyzewski was trying to explain something to Kevin Durant. On the right side of the practice facility was Kobe by himself shooting jumpers. And this is how our next conversation went — I went over to him, patted him on the back and said, ‘Good work this morning.’ (Kobe had met the trainer at 4:15am that morning; they worked out for about 2 hours. The trainer went home after the workout to sleep and assumed Kobe had done the same as there was a scrimmage scheduled later that morning at 11:00am)…
Trainer: ‘Like, the conditioning. Good work.’
Kobe: ‘Oh. Yeah, thanks. I really appreciate it.’
Trainer: ‘So when did you finish?’
Kobe: ‘Finish what?’
Trainer: ‘Getting your shots up. What time did you leave the facility?’
Kobe: ‘Oh just now. I wanted 800 makes so yeah, just now.’
In effect, Kobe showed up seven hours early for an off-season scrimmage.