Following the passing of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, many told stories of the relentless work ethic he applied both on and off the court. Teammates and opponents alike reveled at Bryant’s mental fortitude which made for incredible details.
Along with his role in leading the Lakers to five championships during a storied career, Bryant was an active participant in USA basketball and led the team to gold medals in 2008 and 20010. Bryant was fortunate to have other all-time greats on the American teams, but during the prime of his career, he stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Future hall-of-famer Dwyane Wade shared his favorite story from the Redeem Team of the 2008 Olympics during a recent appearance on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast:
“We’re in the (2008) Olympics, and this is when I knew Kobe was a different monster. You hear about it, but if you don’t see it, you really don’t know. So we get into one of the cities very late, and immediately we all go to the gym. It’s ‘Melo, me, ‘Bron, Kobe. We all go to the gym and get our work in. It’s really late. So after we’re done getting our work in, me and my guys say, ‘Hey, let’s meet for breakfast in the morning. Whoever is the first one to wake up, hit us up and we’ll go eat.’ So we do that. We probably get like three hours of sleep; you can’t sleep much when you’re traveling across the world. We probably get like three hours of sleep, we wake up and go down to where the food is.
“As we’re walking down with sleep in our eyes, Kobe Bryant is sitting there with ice on his knees already. So we walk up and we’re like, ‘What’s up?’ He was like, ‘Ah yeah, man, I just finished a workout and I’m about to go do another one.’ And at that moment, I was like hold on. We just worked out about three hours ago. You’ve done another workout, and you’re about to go do another one? That’s when I was like, I’ve got to get my stuff together. I’ve got to get my [expletive] together because this dude right here is on a whole different level than even I’m on, and I’m supposed to be great. That’s the kind of person he was, and that’s how he drove me.”
Bryant was the third-leading scorer on the 2008 roster and is heralded for his clutch performance against Spain in the tournament final. Bryant scored 20 points on 50% shooting against his championship teammate Pau Gasol.
In addition to that, Bryant’s defense throughout the USA’s run to the gold medal also garnered him plenty of praise from players and coaches who were with the team.
Frank Vogel excited thankful to have LeBron James for postseason
Frank Vogel carved out his place in the NBA as coach of the Indiana Pacers, ranking among the East Conference’s top teams for a stretch. The Pacers had emerging talent with a young Paul George but fell victim to LeBron James’ reign over the conference.
Vogel is relieved to be on the other side of the coin this time around. “Obviously, it’s been great having LeBron on our side after years of going against him,” Vogel said.
“In particular when we get to the playoffs environment, I’ve just seen how he is this year with some of the bigger regular-season games, how he’s more mentally locked in, more vocal, more making sure everybody else is locked in.”
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