It was the summer of 2012 and a professional basketball trainer named Rob was hired to train the USA Men’s Olympic basketball team as they prepared for the Olympics in London. Rob had a fantastic opportunity on his hands, he got to work with some of the best names in basketball, including:
And many other great players. However, the one who stood out to him the most—by far was Kobe Bryant. Not for his talent or skill, but rather, as Rob put it, “his tremendous work ethic.” In fact, the very reason this story was made public is because Rob was so amazed and infatuated by Kobe and his work ethic that he decided to share it with the world on Reddit so everyone could get a glimpse into Kobe Bryant’s world.
Kobe Bryant’s Work Ethic
Rob had had the pleasure to work with some of the other members of the men’s USA Olympic basketball team in the past but this would be his first interaction with Kobe. In there first meeting together, Rob talked about what he specialized in and Kobe shared where he would like to be by the end of summer and was also extremely open discussing the work ethic (or lack thereof) of his teammates.
As the meeting was coming to a close Rob gave Kobe his number and told him to call anytime he wanted to do some extra conditioning work.
So of course, Kobe took the words “anytime” quite literally and two days later, Kobe woke up Rob with a phone call at 4:15 am.
“Hey, uh Rob, I hope I’m not disturbing anything, right?”
“No, you’re good, what’s up Kobe?”
“Just wondering if you could help me out with some conditioning work, that’s all.”
“Yeah sure, sounds good. I’ll see you at the facility in a bit.”
At The Facility
About 20 minutes or so later, Rob arrived at the team USA training facility. There he saw Kobe alone drenched in sweat, so much sweat he wasn’t sure if he had just gotten out of the pool. It was not even 5 am yet. Rob and Kobe worked on conditioning for 75 minutes and then went in for about 45 minutes of weight-training. At 7 am, Rob then went back to his hotel to get some quick rest before the day’s practice that would begin at 11 am. Meanwhile, Kobe went back to the court to practice his shooting.
As Rob arrived back at the facility exhausted and so-called sleep-deprived he saw all the members of Team USA already there. LeBron was in the corner talking to Carmelo, Coach Krzyzewski was explaining something to Kevin Durant, and on the right side of the facility—all by his lonesome, Kobe was shooting mid-range jumpers.
Rob then went up to Kobe and said, “good work this morning.”
“Huh?” Kobe said.
“Like, the conditioning. Good work.”
“Oh, yeah. Thanks, Rob, I really appreciate it.”
“So when did you finish?”
“Finish what?” Kobe said.
“Getting your shots up. What time did you leave the facility?”
“Oh, just now. I wanted to make 800 shots…so yeah, just now.”
Rob was dumbfounded.
Kobe was completely drenched in sweat before 4:45 am, worked with Rob on strength and conditioning for 2 hours, then made 800 shots between the hours of 7 and 11 am. Again, this all took place before team practice even began!
Even at 34 years of age, with 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVP awards, 2 regular season scoring titles, 1 regular season MVP award, and 1 Olympic Gold Medal (soon to be 2) under his belt, Kobe was still getting up early to get to the gym while the rest of his teammates were sound asleep.
Even after Kobe accomplished all of that, at the ripe age of 34, he was still the first to the gym and got in hours of work before some of his teammates even woke up. Why? Because hard work and dedication always pay off. Always have and always will. Kobe Bryant, however, wasn’t the player that he was because he put in 7 hours of work before practice even started on one occasion. Kobe was the player that he was because he put in the work on a regular basis.
It started in high school when Kobe would arrive each morning at 5 am to practice and wouldn’t leave until 7 pm each night. In the NBA, he continued this relentless work ethic and would even go through similar workouts on game days. It didn’t matter what day of the week it was or time of day, Kobe was going to put in the work.
You don’t have to be the most talented, you don’t have to be the most gifted, you simply can’t control what natural abilities you have. You do, however, have to be the hardest most diligent worker that you can be. Hard work and dedication always win in the long run. Talent may set people apart in the beginning temporarily but ultimately hard work tells the final story. Put in the work and you are going to get rewarded.
1. Davis, Scott. “24 Examples of Kobe Bryant’s Insane Work Ethic.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 6 Mar. 2018, http://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-bryant-insane-work-ethic-2013-8.
2. Astramskas, David. “Storytime: Team USA Trainer Tells a Story about Kobe’s Insane Work Ethic.” Ballislifecom, 6 Mar. 2014, ballislife.com/storytime-team-usa-trainer-kobe/.3. Manfred, Tony. “A Crazy Story About Kobe Bryant Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night To Work Out Before The Olympics.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 5 Mar. 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-bryant-woke-up-at-4-am-to-practice-before-olympics-2013-3.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kobe Bryant tragically died at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna, who was 13-years-old at the time.
Kobe Bryant has 5 NBA Championship rings, 2 Finals MVPs, and 1 regular season MVP. Kobe Bryant will forever be a basketball legend.
In 2019, Kobe Bryant’s net worth was estimated to be around $500 million.
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, tragically died in a helicopter crash in California. There were three other individuals on board.
Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006.
Kobe Bryant scored 81 points on January 22, 2006. Kobe Bryant was 27 at the time.