Over the course of his 20-year career, Kobe Bryant developed a reputation for being someone who did things on his own terms. If the Los Angeles Lakers were going to compete for a championship, it was going to be done his way. However, there seems to be a misconception on what exactly “his way” was.
While Bryant clearly had the utmost confidence in himself and his abilities, Gary Payton — Bryant’s former teammate — said that Bryant was never too proud to ask other for help in a recent episode of “All The Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson:
“Kobe was just a little different. He didn’t have no ego. He did have an ego, but I’m saying an ego in asking OG’s what to do. And how to become better. And when he approached me at the All-Star Game and asked me how to make First Team All-Defense and I sat there at center court and taught him a lot of things and he made the First Team All-Defense with me that year, I said this kid has a lot of different things in him, a different mentality.”
Whether it was by coincidence or not, another one of Bryant’s former teammates, Caron Butler, posted an old video of Bryant receiving some tips from Hakeem Olajuwon on how to become a better scorer in the post on Tuesday:
There was never a doubt that Bryant was a student of the game, but these stories and videos serve as reminders that not even Kobe Bryant did it all on his own; he had teachers like Payton, Olajuwon and obviously Jordan, who he modeled his game after. Once his career was over, Bryant passed that knowledge along to the next generation of players through private and group workouts.
Bryant may not be around to do one-on-one workouts anymore, but his attitude towards improving is something that everyone can learn from.