Remembering the moments I spent working with Kobe makes me realize how grateful I am for that time I was able to spend around him. Keep reading for some of my favorite memories of Kobe and the lessons I learned from him. I shared this thread of memories recently on Twitter and on my Instagram.
Kobe was relentless. Despite the grueling recovery process from his injuries, he made no excuses and insisted on not missing a single training or rehab session.
One of Kobe’s secrets was that he never missed. You never had to worry, is he going to hit ‘snooze’ that day? It was never a question. Whether it was a session with me in the weight room, the legendary Gary Vitti on the training table, or Judy Seto on the physical therapy table, we always knew Kobe would be there to do whatever it took to get his body right. Nobody knows this better than Gary Vitti. Gary was the Head Athletic Trainer for the LA Lakers for 32 years. Gary was there the day Kobe came into the league and he was there the day he left the league. No person on earth treated and patched up a battered Kobe Bryant more than Gary Vitti. Read HERE for a heartfelt remembrance of Kobe by Gary.
These are the types of things that Mike Sielski uncovers for readers in his new book and even further in his conversation with Phil White and me on The Basketball Strong Podcast in this episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-basketball-strong-podcast/id1603012439?i=1000551959776
There is one specific memory I have of Kobe’s recognition of what comes with greatness, persevering even when he had every right to take the night off:
Kobe wasn’t out there to apologize to anyone for thriving in his skin. I loved that about him. He taught me that it’s ok to be ruthless and obsessed with something that fills your cup.
He had this innate ability to impact people even beyond the game of basketball. How many people will we ever come across that have a mentality named after them? People know the ‘mamba mentality,’ they know what that means, whether they’re a basketball fan or not.
This was an example of the Mamba Mentality, being Basketball Strong, and the Kobe Way that was forged during his childhood. He may have been obsessed, flawed, ruthless, and to the right of balanced, but he inspired. By the way, most of us are flawed and to the right of balanced. He inspired so many with how he did what he did. I know I took inspiration from how he operated.
Mike Sielski shares the ingredients of his childhood in ways I’ve never heard in his new book titled, The Rise - Kobe Bryant & The Pursuit of Immortality. Last week on The Basketball Strong Podcast, Sielski chatted at length with Phil White and me about the ingredients in Kobe’s childhood that were the seed to his greatness. Subscribe and listen to our conversation on The Basketball Strong Podcast.
Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge. He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.