A testament to Kobe’s dedication to putting in the work every single day is a story from former teammate John Celestand back in 1999. Celestand prided himself in getting to practice first, but Kobe took that to another level via Viral Hoops:
“The first time I began to understand why he was the best was in the pre-season. In a game against the Wizards, Kobe broke the wrist on his shooting hand. He was always the first person to practice every day, arriving at least an hour and a half early. This would infuriate me because I wanted to be the first person to practice, just as I had always been at Villanova and Piscataway High in New Jersey. To add insult to injury, I lived only 10 minutes from the practice facility — while Kobe was at least 35 minutes away.
“I am ashamed to say that I was excited the day after his injury because I knew that there was no way that No. 8 (as former Laker point guard Tyronn Lue called him) would be the first to practice, if he would even be there at all.
“As I walked through the training room, I became stricken with fear when I heard a ball bouncing. No, no, it couldn’t be! Yes it could. Kobe was already in a full sweat with a cast on his right arm and dribbling and shooting with his left.”
Needless to say, Kobe missing practice or simply not participating due to a broken hand wasn’t going to happen. Kobe could get hit by a truck on the way to practice and show up in a wheelchair.
Dedication to another level.
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