You don’t have to like Kobe Bryant, but you most certainly have to respect the man they call the “Black Mamba” for his commitment and dedication to winning.
Tonight, after losing a close battle in Miami against the scuffling Heat, Kobe Bryant stayed out on the floor at American Airlines Arena for over and hour shooting jumpshots from every spot on the floor. The terrific Adrian Wojnarowski chronicled Kobe’s impromptu post-game shoot-around tonight on Twitter.
And here are a couple videos of Kobe shooting:
Now look, Kobe isn’t out curing cancer so there is no need to deify him for taking extra jumpshots. But within the confines of sports, this is about as impressive an act as you’ll see.
Kobe made some mistakes down the stretch tonight, and I’m sure part of his motivation to get out and shoot is simply to release some frustration. Additionally, I am sure that he is trying to send a message to his teammates that this is the level of commitment it will take to win another championship.
Plus, I doubt it’s a coincidence that he is making this kind of display on the home floor of LeBron and D-Wade, who just completed a season sweep of the Lakers. Most players who visit South Beach surely have more enjoyable evenings planned than shooting jumpers in sweats. Kobe? He’s showing the young guys the effort level it takes to win a ring.
The Heat had a parade before they ever practiced. Kobe has five rings and still shoots around for an hour after a loss. That’s why, if you forced me to choose right now, I’d say the Lakers get another one this year. It might be the last stand of Kobe and Phil together, and I think they have just enough to will LA to one more.
As for LeBron and Dwyane Wade and anyone else who fancies themselves a champion…take notes fellas. This is the price you pay to win. And it’s just Kobe being Kobe.
After the game, reporters caught up with him. To paraphrase, he said: “This is my profession. This is what I’m supposed to do. It will be much more fun to come back to Miami after winning.”
I have never been a big Kobe fan, but I find myself respecting him more and more as a player with each passing year.