Skip to main content

Kobe Bryant Learned Tap Dancing To Improve The Strength Of His Ankles After An Injury In The 2000 NBA Finals

Kobe Bryant Learned Tap Dancing To Improve The Strength Of His Ankles After An Injury In The 2000 NBA Finals

Kobe Bryant was an incredible perfectionist who tried improving every facet of his game until the day he retired. The reason his iconic 'Mamba Mentality' rings true with fans and other players is because Kobe epitomized working hard for things one wants to achieve. 

Bryant won his first NBA Championship in 2000 when his Los Angeles Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers. In that series, Kobe severely hurt his ankle because he landed on Jalen Rose's foot after taking a shot. That injury derailed Kobe's summer as the young star would have to find creative ways to get back to full health.

In his book 'Mamba Mentality', Kobe revealed that he had to take up tap dancing that summer to improve the strength of his ankles. 

"The ankle was so bad that, to be honest, I couldn’t hoop much that summer. What I did do, though, was take up tap dancing. That’s right: tap dancing. That was my worst sprain, but it certainly wasn’t my first. I realized at that point I needed to be proactive about strengthening my ankles. After researching the matter, it became apparent that tap dancing was going to be the best way to build up my ankle strength while simultaneously improving my foot speed and rhythm. So I hired an instructor and started going to the studio. I worked on it all that summer and benefited for the rest of my career." (Source: Mamba Mentality)

The decision to use an unconventional method to increase his ankle's durability paid off incredibly, as Kobe missed very few games through the prime of his career due to injury. An ACL tear would derail the end of his career, but injuries never ended up stopping him from winning 5 championships.

We see modern NBA players do a lot of different things to keep their health and fitness up. Tap dancing has to be the weirdest way to do so, but Kobe Bryant would never shy away from doing something he knew would help him be better on the court.