There is very little doubt that Kobe Bryant is one of the toughest players in the NBA. Kobe has played through a myriad of injuries and he will not let anything prevent him from hitting the court. From the knee problems that limited his explosiveness, to the finger injury that forced him to change his jump-shot, Kobe Bryant will not allow pain to impede him from playing the game he loves.
That type of dedication and commitment to basketball was evident during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game where Kobe Bryant suffered a concussion and broken nose after Dwyane Wade hit him across the face.
Most players would have chosen to sit out the rest of the game due to the injuries, but Kobe Bryant fought through the pain. Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brook, coach of the Western Conference team, told the Los Angeles Times that he admired the way Bryant managed to stay in the game.
“I asked him about it,” Brooks said about the injury. He said, ‘I’m all right, coach.’ ” Brooks later went on to say that even though Bryant suffered two injuries on one play, there was no stopping him from getting back on the court. “This guy has a concussion, his nose is bleeding and they’re working on it,” Brooks said. “And somehow, he plays through it all.”
The Thunder had two players in the All-Star Game in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Those two players represented the franchise well and that nucleus will be making noise in the NBA for quite some time. In addition to their appearance in the All-Star Game, the three Thunder stars also took part in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Durant, Westbrook and James Harden took him gold this summer in London and coach Brooks was happy that his players got to learn from one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, Kobe Bryant.
“That’s the great benefit of being around great players,” Brooks said. “You see how he approaches the game. You see how serious they are about their craft. It’s impressive. They’ve always come back and say that guy is a competitor and he competes. He doesn’t like to lose at anything.”
Kobe Bryant was also a mentor to the younger players in the 2008 Olympics, and he took the exact same role in 2012. Bryant has transformed his game as he aged, but his work ethic has stayed the same. The up-and-coming stars of the league saw how much time Bryant puts on the court and understood that hard work is the only way to success.
This week’s edition of Locker Room Talk discusses who defenses will double-team this season.
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