Kobe’s Incredible Conditioning
Most recently, Kobe took his level of dedication and heart to another level. He decided he wasn’t going to let the Lakers miss the playoffs, and opted to play almost the entirety of ballgames.
In the seven games leading up to his injury (including the game in which he was visibly hurt three times), Kobe averaged 45.6 minutes per game out of a possible 48.
Additionally, throughout the entire season, Kobe totaled the most fourth quarter points among any other NBA player at 589; with an average of 8.2 per fourth quarter. The second-highest player is currently Kevin Durant at 558 total points; and an average of 8.5 points per fourth quarter, which is higher than Bryant’s.
Nobody else came even close. Not LeBron James (397 total, 6.0 average). Not Carmelo Anthony (367 total, 6.9 average). Not anybody.
However, although Durant has played in less fourth quarters than Bryant and has a higher fourth quarter average, per 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, Kobe finished the season averaging 11.3 points compared with Durant’s current 10.6 with just a few games remaining.
He wasn’t shooting a bad percentage either, as he averaged 45.1 percent in fourth quarters; which isn’t far off his 46.3 overall season average.
I didn’t pull these stats to argue how clutch Kobe is, because we all know how dangerous he can be, but rather to showcase the kind of physical condition he was in leading up the most severe injury of his career.
There was an article on Reddit a while ago detailing his insane conditioning regimen over the summer, which certainly was not surprising to avid fans of Kobe Bryant.
It’s that kind of determination that allowed him to not only finish off games, but flourish in fourth quarters.
Different Animal, Different Beast
What drives an athlete in his 17th season to put in that kind of time an effort, though, after already being a five-time champion?
The obvious answer is “another championship,” but it’s surely more than that.
It’s the drive to win, the will to put in the extra hours, and the inner-motivation to be the greatest.
I alluded to this in an earlier article regarding Kobe Bryant, but I’m going to revisit my claim:
We’ve all seen the Kobe System commercials in which Kobe says “Different Animal. Same Beast.”
It’s a reference to an athlete of another sport–or even the same sport–having the same kind of drive that Kobe does.
However, I dispute this claim as there is no other athlete on this planet with the same kind of ferocity that Bryant has when it comes to his training and competitive spirit on the court.
No other player relishes the challenge of breaking down a defense, dunking on a shot-blocker, knocking down a three-point dagger, or even proving critics wrong the way Kobe Bryant does.
Nobody plays or approaches the game with the same kind of flair, dramatics, intensity, passion or will to win that Kobe Bryant does.
Sure, there may be other athletes out there who share those similarities. Shoot, there may even be other basketball players who are somewhat similar.
Those are the different animals, but are they the same beast as Kobe Bryant? Not a chance.
Different animal. Different beast altogether.
Next Page: The Comeback