That drive, that hunger, that tenacity all mixed with unbelievable athleticism…these are trademarks of the NBA’s younger teams. They believe that the world is against them, and they are out to prove that they belong among the game’s elite. It’s what keeps them going for the long, arduous eighty-two game season. Beating the league’s top teams is what keeps them motivated in light of the fact that very few young teams ever break through in the NBA’s postseason.
And as much as Bryant applauded Griffen’s Kobe-like intensity, even at the hands of his own teammate Lamar Odom, he knows first hand that all too often youth is not served in this league. Because the ironic thing about youth in the NBA, the things that make it so sought-after: the speed, agility, jumping ability, the hunger, the drive-also come with their drawbacks.
Too often young teams pride themselves on these characteristics, ignorant to the fact that what it really takes to win are things like execution, focus, attention to detail and defense. For as much as Bryant is now praised for his killer instinct and drive, he was also equally once derided as being too brash, too impetuous, too young.
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