Posted Mar 11 2011 4:05PM
MIAMI (AP) -- Kobe Bryant stood on the Miami Heat's court, his shirt completely soaked. Sweat dripped onto the floor with his every step. He bent over at the waist, hands on his knees, breathing heavily.
Mind you, this wasn't during a Los Angeles Lakers game.
This was long afterward.
"It's my job," Bryant said.
Here's how Bryant responded to the Lakers' 94-88 loss at Miami on Thursday night: He worked out until Friday morning.
He was back on the floor at 10:47 p.m., not taking his last shot until just past midnight. He took hundreds of shots - 3-pointers, post-ups, wing jumpers, corner jumpers, free throws, you name it, he took it - in a display that even had bleary eyed arena security workers pulling out cell phones to get photos and video.
At times, three ballboys were part of the act, which at one point drew more than 100 people courtside to watch. Security pleaded with people to leave, and hardly anyone listened.
"You've got to work at it," Bryant said. "This is what you're supposed to do. I mean, if you're not comfortable with something and you feel like you can tweak some things, you've got to work on them. It doesn't matter when you work on them. You've just got to get it done. You've got to work it out."
Afterward, he was calm, engaging, funny.
During the session, not so much.
He slapped basketballs in anger more than once after missing shots. He swore under his breath after misfiring. He even yelled at himself angrily after making a few shots.
An hour into the workout, he started making hard cuts before receiving passes from attendant Parron Outing - more on him later - who has worked with the Heat at times over the past 19 seasons.
"Stand right here," Bryant instructed, pointing to a corner of the lane. "Then hand it back to me."
So Outing did that. Again, and again, and again.
Outing had no idea how long the workout would last. All he knew was that when he walked off at 12:14 a.m., he was past his bedtime.
"He told me, 'Go get two balls,' and we came back out here," Outing said. "Total dedication."
Even he was sweating when it was over. But he'll have a great story when he goes back to his real job.
Outing started working for the Heat when he was 12. He now only spends time with the team during leaves from his duties as a Staff Sergeant with the U.S. Air Force. He was one of the people who came up with the idea for the Heat to hold training camp at Hurlburt Field, an Air Force installation in Florida's Panhandle, last September.
Soon, he'll be serving his country again. On Thursday, he served at the pleasure of Kobe Bryant.
"I worked out with him earlier today, about 3:45 p.m.," Outing said. "We did some of the same routine, some of the same pick-and-pops and spot-up shooting. After the game, he said, 'I want to shoot again."'
There was a large contingent of Lakers fans at the game, and a few people even cheered Bryant's display afterward. The arena wasn't totally without fans when his impromptu postgame show started - see, the postgame hangout of choice at AmericanAirlines Arena is called the Dewar's Clubhouse, which stays open for about an hour after Heat games.
As it was emptying, a woman shrieked, "I love you Kobe."
Bryant didn't even seem to notice, nor did he look when a man yelled, "Go home."
Last call didn't mean last shot for Bryant. Not even close. By the time his teammates were likely having dinner on South Beach -- Heat reserve Dexter Pittman said on Twitter that he was at a swanky steakhouse around the same time as Bryant's workout began -- the five-time NBA champion was doing work.
"Just tweaking things," Bryant said.
And it wasn't just because of the loss, either. Bryant wasn't pleased with the way the Lakers finished, nor the way he finished. He made his first four shots Thursday, then shot 4 for 17 the rest of the way, 2 for 11 in the second half.
"Couple shots, I didn't feel comfortable with," Bryant said. "So I had to get back in rhythm."
So to recap, Bryant took a pregame shower.
Then a postgame shower.
And then he needed a post-postgame shower.
"It'd be tough sleeping like this," Bryant said.
|Williams Hits the Jumper|
Al Jefferson gets the offensive rebound and finds Mo Williams for the jumper.
|DeRozan Drives and Dunks|
DeMar DeRozan drives to the basket and finishes with the dunk.
Brandon Knight makes the alley-oop feed to Brandan Wright for the throw down.
The Suns move the ball to allow Markieff Morris to feed Brandan Wright for the inside hook shot.
Tiago Splitter gets the feed in transition and hits the tough bankshot.