Kobe Bryant was probably the biggest superstar of the 2000s and the 2010s. Donning the Los Angeles Lakers jersey, Kobe was the face of the franchise, and rightfully so, as he led his team to five championships.
A great two-way player with amazing scoring capability and has the potential to clamp down his opponents, Bryant was a joy to watch when in play. While his gameplay certainly had its fair share of admirers, it was his incredible discipline towards the sports that shocked many.
Among many was Miami Heat legend and Hall of Famer Chris Bosh. Bosh, who was an 11-time All-Star, was a key member of the redeem team. Given how embarrassing the 2004 Olympics were for team USA, the team was absolutely stacked for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Among them was Lakers' Kobe Bryant.
“It was 2008, the Redeem Team was formed. We were in Vegas for the start of training camp and we’re getting ready for the Olympics in Beijing. I wanted to establish myself as a young leader on the team by waking up bright and early [on] day one. So the goal was to be the first one at breakfast. I set my alarm, I make sure I’m up by sunrise, I get out of bed, I put on my gear and I head downstairs…but when I get there, Kobe is already there with ice packs on his knees, drenched in sweat.
“It took me a minute to figure it out, but this guy was not only awake before me, he had already worked out. He had just played in the Finals days earlier. Meanwhile, I've been off for months and I was still exhausted. What he did that day was incomprehensible to me...that dedication he had only days after falling short of an NBA championship, that taught me something I have never forgotten: legends aren’t defined by their successes, they are defined by how they bounce back from their failures.”While Chris Bosh really wanted to make a good impression upon his peers, Bryant was simply obsessed with the game and was willing to put in extra effort to succeed.
All the extra effort that Bryant put in reaped the benefits as Team USA won the gold medal yet again in the 2008 Olympics. Kobe might have left us, but his principles of hard work resonate with multiple NBA stars till now and will continue to inspire the younger generation as well.