Kobe Bryant was known not only for being one of the greatest NBA players of all time but also for his work ethic that allowed him to rise to greatness.
That work ethic, which he called the Mamba Mentality, has become almost as legendary as the man himself, with former teammates and rivals telling stories about how obsessed the former Los Angeles Lakers guard was about preparing for and outworking his opponents.
One former teammate, Wesley Johnson, told one such story during an interview with The Field of 68 college basketball podcast and even compared Kobe Bryant to a serial killer.
"He was like a serial killer in a way."
"He had notes in his phone. LeBron, his tendencies. D-Wade, KD, Steph, James. All in his notes in his iPhone."
We'll never get tired of stories like this about Kobe.@Spotify https://t.co/W7AyUNSpmU@ApplePodcasts https://t.co/2zlOSGlQJc pic.twitter.com/uOXMJvc5oZ
— The Field of 68 (@TheFieldOf68) December 25, 2020
Johnson, who played for the Lakers from 2013-15, recalled witnessing firsthand how Bryant’s workouts would focus on “repetition of everything” and how he dissected opposing defenses and prepared to counter their attempts to try to stop him from scoring.
The 33-year-old Johnson, who played nine seasons in the NBA before joining Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League in 2019, said that it was the Black Mamba’s obsession with greatness that was above everyone else’s and that he knew everything about everyone as far as opposing players were concerned.
Elaborating on the serial killer comparison, Johnson shared that Bryant had notes on his phone regarding the on-court tendencies of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and James Harden. Whether it was their tendencies when driving, shooting, or what they were likely to do when they didn’t have the ball, the 2008 NBA MVP had all of it written down as he prepared for each game.
It’s not the first time that a former teammate has shared stories like this about Bryant’s legendary work ethic, but it just goes to show how hard the Laker great worked to achieve greatness over his 20-year career.