In 1994, a coach in Philadelphia stated every day when he went to work, at 5 am there would be the sound of squeaking sneakers and basketball dribbling in the gym. That player that was always in there before the school even opened was Kobe Bryant. In 1996, while making his decision to skip college and bring his game to the professional level, Kobe Bryant was heavily scrutinized for being too immature for the NBA. The media, his peers, and the rest of the league questioned his heart and ability to make plays, and labelled him a selfish, arrogant waste of money after he shot 2 airballs as a rookie in a utah playoff game. A year later, a league wide media report came out and said that Kobe Bryant had small hands, no muscle, weak frame, weak jumpshot, defensive lapses, offense first midset and selfish style of play. They said that Kobe will not be able to become a winner in this league because he lacks the “it” factor. Through all media scrutiny, one aspect remained constant. Kobe Bryant was always the first person in the gym and the last one to leave. After winning 3 titles with the Lakers, he was labelled as the secondary option and his contributions to said titles were discounted. People said that those titles were won by shaq and Kobe couldnt do it on his own. After several fueds with his teammates, coaches and a colorado incident, Kobe was labelled “uncoachable, selfish, immature, arrogrant, and a criminal.” Through all these times, one thing remained a constant, Kobe Bryant was the first person in the gym and the last to leave. After single-handedly carrying the Lakers in the playoffs and being undoubtedly the most valuable player in the league, the media and the league refused to give him the MVP award. A few years later, Kobe Bryant again made 3 appearances in the finals, winning 2 of them and has been currently labelled “old and slow.” Through all this negativity, there is still one thing that remains a constant, Kobe Bryant is still the first person to be in the gym and the last guy to leave. This is RyderzDelight, reminding you that DETERMINATION counts!
Last night at Staples Center, sitting in floor seats next to each other, watching Kobe perform, two other determined men who practiced all the time: Roger Federer and Pete Sampras. The greats watch the great.