The work ethic and skill of former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is nothing short of legendary. Bryant was a basketball savant, and throughout his career, story after story came to light detailing anecdotes that showed his skill and dedication to his craft.
From role players to current or former superstars, Bryant has regularly been lauded for the determination he showed, whether in games or the practice court. With the Lakers set to retire Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys on Monday, former teammates have been asked to reflect on the five-time champion.
Among them was retired Lakers guard Devean George, who explained what impressed him most about Bryant in their years playing together during an appearance on the “Forgotten Lakers” podcast:
“What stands out in my mind the most about Kobe is, the overall ability to change his game on the court. The overall ability to understand how people were playing him. We would laugh about it because he’s a step ahead of people. He’d know the next game, ‘Okay, this guy, this time is going to try and guard me this way. So my open shots are going to be here.’ So he would practice, 20 minutes after practice. He’d work on this shot or that shot and he was able to put it in the game tomorrow. As if he’d been working on it all summer! Most people, they want to work on it all summer, they want to work on it in practice, they want to work on it in shootaround and then I might bring it to the game at 7:30. He’d work on it for 20 minutes and then bring it to the game. No one can do that!”
Very few NBA players in history have been able to adjust the way they play with the speed with which Bryant could.
Whether it was changing his shooting form to play through a busted finger or trying to reattach his own Achilles tendon with his bare hands, Bryant never met an obstacle he didn’t think he could overcome with a slight change to how he played, and we may never see anything quite like it ever again.
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