“When you first come into the league, you’re trying to prove yourself as an individual, do things to assert yourself and establish yourself. But then once you’ve done that, there’s another level to the game that’s more complex than figuring out how to put up big numbers as an individual.”
--Kobe Bryant, 31, Los Angeles Lakers, discussing his evolution as a player and teammate.
Bryant has earned four NBA championships with the Lakers. He started his NBA career out of high school at the age of 17.
Kobe has refined his game by:
*Traveling with a portable DVD player queued to games to analyze and review.
*Working with Tim *Grover, Michael Jordan’s former trainer, to address weaknesses in the physical aspects of his game.
*Hiring a consultant to analyze various NBA teams' and individual opponents' weaknesses.
*Visiting the former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon over the summer for a 5-hour tutorial on low-post play.
“The strengths that I have now were weaknesses when I was a kid,” Bryant said. “The strengths that I had as a kid may be weaknesses now. So you just kind of flip-flop and get the same results.”
“He’s always trying a new angle,” Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni said about Bryant. “His work ethic is better than anybody I’ve seen, so he’s going to improve.”
D'Antoni added, “Whether he can do the same things he could do when he was younger, I don’t know, but he’ll keep getting to be a better basketball player.”
Excerpts from the New York Times, November 24, 2009.
For more on mental conditioning, peak performance and Kobe Bryant, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.