Kobe's Five Things
When we sat down with longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti last week, the subject of Kobe Bryant's chances to stay healthy in 2014-15 sparked Vitti's mind about the five things he thinks make Bryant the player he is:
- Extreme athleticism
- Extreme talent
- Outworks everybody
- Incredible toughness
- Intellectual brilliance
Those five things come with "stuff" that Vitti said Bryant would be the "first to admit."
Stuff like … being over-the-top competitive? Going after teammates who aren't bringing full effort? Being disgusted with any and every loss? Focusing 100 percent on being the best at basketball at the expense of everything else?
Depends who you ask. But the point is simple for Vitti. Whatever that "stuff" may be, it's worth it.
Here's the full quote:
Kobe Bryant is a brilliant basketball player. Kobe Bryant is a great athlete, but there were actually players that were more athletic than Kobe. So why him? It's in his mind and his heart and soul. He just has something about him that most people don't. No matter what you think of Kobe Bryant, he's extremely athletic, extremely talented, works harder than anyone else, is tough as nails and intellectually brilliant. You can't take those five things away from him. When you put them all together, you end up with a very, very successful person. Now, it comes with ‘stuff,’ and he'll be the first one to admit it, but wouldn't you rather have a guy that has those five things and deal with the ‘stuff’ than have a guy that doesn't have any ‘stuff’ but you’re trying to instill one of those five things in him. I'll take the dude with the five things.
As for the answer to that first question about Kobe's chances of staying healthy?
"I have 100 percent confidence that he'll be healthy because of the way he handles his body and the style of play that we'll compete at," said Vitti.
In two-and-a-half more months, we'll find out.