When it comes to the greatest US Men’s Olympic basketball teams ever put together, there are many who believe the 2008 ‘Redeem Team’ edition is the greatest. Captained by Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, the team also featured the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh.
One thing that happens with these Olympic teams is that these players who are usually battling each other during the NBA season, get to now be teammates and truly see the work that the others put in to be great, and that was undoubtedly the case with Bryant. Kobe’s work ethic is legendary, but many don’t get to witness it firsthand. The 2008 Olympics allowed for the new generation to really see Kobe in action, and Bosh took a lesson away that stuck with him forever.
This past weekend, Bosh was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and within his speech, he revealed a lesson he learned from Bryant during their time together on the 2008 Olympic team, via the Lakers’ official Twitter:
“Day 1. So the goal was to be the first one at breakfast. So 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’s already there, with icepacks on his knees, drenched in sweat. Now it took me a minute to figure it out, but this guy wasn’t only awake before me, he had already worked out. He had just played in the Finals days earlier, meanwhile, I had been off for months and I was still exhausted. What he had done that morning was incomprehensible to me. That dedication he had only days after falling short of an NBA Championship, that taught me something I’ve never forgotten. Legends aren’t defined by their successes. They’re defined by how they bounce back from their failures.”
It’s easy to forget now, but at the time, the likes of Bosh, James, Anthony and Wade had only been in the league for a few years. While they were already stars, it was Kobe who was the benchmark of the league at that point and who everyone was shooting for. Seeing the type of work that he put into being great caused those stars to open their eyes to the level he was at, and it was driven home even more by the fact that Kobe was coming off of what was likely his most devastating loss to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.
Bryant would bounce back, leading the Olympic team to a gold medal and following it up with back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010. But the lessons he imparted on the players on that Olympic team stuck with them throughout their careers and there are plenty of other stories similar to the one Bosh told about what Bryant was all about.
Chris Bosh tells hilarious story of receiving first Lakers jersey as a kid
Well before he received those lessons from a Lakers legend, Bosh was just excited to receive a Lakers jersey as a child. In that same Hall of Fame speech, Bosh told a hilarious story about receiving his first Lakers jersey as a gift and wondering which legendary was name was on the back, before turning it around and realizing it was blank.
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