How Michael Jackson inspired Kobe Bryant
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN published a great story about Bryant this morning and wrote about how Jackson inspired Bryant:
Inside the fourth floor of a Minneapolis hotel restaurant, Bryant was unloading about the late King of Pop and himself. I’ll always remember his jacket — purple and gold, with five Larry O’Brien trophies emblazoned across the back and sleeves. He looked like the varsity letterman wearing his state title patches at the Friday night pizza haunt. Kobe Bryant was 32 years old, and he didn’t care at all.
“We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts,” Bryant told me. “He would teach me what he did: how to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed — to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did — and how he did it — was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.
“That’s the mentality that I have — it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from Jordan. It’s not from other athletes. It’s from Michael Jackson.”
Both Jackson and Bryant were taken too early from us.
In 1,346 career games for the Lakers, Bryant cemented himself as an all-time great. He finished his illustrious NBA career with averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard was an 18-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion, 15-time All-NBA team member, two-time Finals MVP and five-time champion.