As Kobe Bryant attempted to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to another NBA title in the seasons after Shaquille O’Neal’s departure, the five-time champion often flipped a switch once the playoffs began.
With the closing of the regular season and the Lakers 16 wins away from hoisting another Larry O’Brien trophy, Bryant’s demeanor would drastically change and he became more terse and further fine-tuned his already laser-like focus.
However, according to a Todd VanDerWerff interview with David Walton, Bryant’s 2009 title chase involved daily viewings of Fired Up!, a comedy film that depicts a pair of football players who have visions of meeting coeds by attending a cheerleading camp. Walton, who played “Dr. Rick” in the film, tells VanDerWerff that he and Bryant crossed paths on the set of New Girl when the superstar reportedly revealed his daily routine:
That is a cult hit, that movie. There’s so many people who’ve seen that movie in double-digits. I did New Girl this past year, Kobe Bryant came to the set and was like, “Yo man, are you Dr. Rick?” And I was like, “Yeah.” He said, “I watched FiredUp! every day before we won the world championship in 2009.” So these athletes are, like, it was the coolest thing in the world thinking about the entire Lakers team watching Fired Up!, this teenage sex comedy before going out on the floor and winning.
The notion that Bryant would dedicate 90 minutes to watch Fired Up! goes against the engrained public perception of him — particularly when considering the timing of it. The Lakers’ 2009 title run against Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic came one year after their defeat in 2008 NBA Finals at the hands of the Boston Celtics. When the playoffs rolled around in April of 2009, Bryant appeared locked in on nothing else but the games at hand and winning.
However, if Bryant truly did take the time to watch the film, it would coincide with his anecdotes that he spent plenty of time watching lighthearted movies with his daughters as he recovered from Achilles surgery.
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