The work ethic of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is the stuff of NBA legend. The future Hall-of-Famer is nearly universally regarded across the league as one of the hardest workers in NBA history.
Bryant’s devotion to his craft paid off in five championships, fistfuls of personal accolades and the third-most points in league history, and in doing so Bryant left no stone unturned in his pursuit of greatness.
That pursuit occasionally included some … unorthodox … training methods, a particularly memorable one of which Lakers general manager recently relayed to Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com while discussing Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma’s attempts to mimic Bryant’s footwork and other fundamental prowess:
“Kobe was so maniacal,” Pelinka said. “He would do everything (including) studying how a leopard used its tail for balance when it chased a wildebeest; and then he would use his leg that way. … The level of detail and study he was doing — no one’s approaching that.”
Pelinka is somehow not kidding, although Bryant has either done this with separate animals or Pelinka was slightly off on which predatory cat the man who calls himself the Black Mamba was trying to study, as Bryant told a similar story to Arianna Huffington in a conversation the two had for the New York Times in 2014.
In that, Bryant detailed how he studied a cheetah and came to the conclusion his leg should mirror the use and purpose of the animal’s tail. In essence, Bryant used that line of thinking to improve his fadeaway jump shot.
Whichever predator Bryant was mimicking, it paid off in one of the sweetest and most lethal fadeaway jumpers to ever grace the NBA.
Kuzma will have to find his own path to greatness if that’s truly what he wants to pursue, so this isn’t to say he needs to start watching the Discovery Channel instead of game film, but evidently adding the former couldn’t hurt.
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