Of course, if you come to play alongside Bryant, don’t forget to wear your thick-skin.
“Kobe jokingly refers to it as Malcom X and Martin Luther King in terms of how we go about balancing [constructive criticism],” said Derek Fisher. “I don’t think it’s necessarily him tearing guys up in a way that’s demeaning or belittling to our guys…just a different style of communicating it.”
If Kobe didn’t attempt to make shots with three defenders running towards him, it wouldn’t be right. Even the absence of Phil Jackson’s, “is he really going to take that shot,” face and subsequent glare towards Bryant after his failed heroic circus-shot, would be missed. Dare to dream that every shot Bryant takes is one aimed at efficiency.
Although he won the 2010 Finals MVP, his abysmal 6-for-24 shooting night is semi-eclipsed by the 15 boards he collected and his aggressiveness going to the basket allowing him to make several trips to the charity stripe.
“Whatever it takes, to win the game, you got to do whatever it takes,” said Bryant after game seven of the 2010 NBA finals. “That’s my job. Sometimes shots aren’t going to fall, but you have to figure something out to try to help your team win.”
Bryant’s love of the game, ambition, relentlessness when it comes to winning is evident when you realize he played 235 straight games, not counting the 2008 Olympic Games, before taking the night off to rest a sore left ankle. Not to mention, he won his fourth championship with a torn ligament in his pinky and his fifth with a broken finger and a bum knee.
It may take a little longer for us all to witness Kobe’s 2010-11 season go underway while he continues to allow his body to heal from knee surgery performed over the summer. When it does happen, he’ll be back in the swing of things, proving his knee did little to hamper his quest at ring number six. Just don’t expect him to admit it.
“I don’t really need any outside motivation to get me going,” Bryant told ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande. “I’m just wired that way…I’m here to win, I’m here to focus and do my job. That’s what I’m going to do.”