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Film study: Breaking down Kobe’s devastating first step technique

I detailed Kobe Bryant’s first step and blow-by ability through the lens of biomechanics and sports science.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Late Los Angeles Lakers legend and newly anointed Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant (may he rest in peace) had a legendary arsenal of moves and counters that made him an offensive juggernaut and one of the toughest covers the NBA has ever seen.

One of those moves was a devastating first step that he utilized to blow by defenders and create havoc on the opposing defense, whether it was by finishing in the paint or collapsing the defense to create an open look for a teammate.

To figure out what exactly made Kobe’s first step so lethal, I studied the film and, using my background in biomechanics, sports science, and youth basketball coaching, broke down the key components of the move. Here are my takeaways:

Kobe’s first step was the result of a multi-faceted process in which he calmly sized up the defense, calculated the spot he wanted to get to, used deception to create the avenue, and then optimized his movement through key biomechanical principles.

Kobe may be gone, but his key principles like attention to detail and technique will forever be embodied in his approach to the game of basketball — lessons and principles that each of us can apply on the court or in our daily lives.

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