Have you ever wondered just how Kobe Bryant became one of the greatest basketball players to walk this earth? Well, now you might be able to replicate a little bit of his success – and we really do mean just a little – by taking note of his hints and tips on how to become an “amazing basketball player.”
Bryant, who is currently in China, recently took part in a question and answer session on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo. The Kobe Team put together a transcript of the questions and answers. Here are some of the best ones.
Question: How do I strengthen my jumper? How do I know what I need to work on, when it’s good/strong enough?
Bryant: Repetition is how you build up strength. By having the persistence to work on it, shooting it over and over, you’ll find that one day it just clicks. There’ll be times where it’ll look horrendous, but that’s okay because that’s just part of the process of getting better.
Question: If I’m not the fastest, the highest jumper, how do I survive in an actual game? Say when I play 3 on 3 with friends, if I might not have the talent.
Bryant: You do not need to be the highest jumper or the fastest to be an amazing basketball player. All it is, is timing and fundamentals. Use fakes, pumps, look people off. When you can use deception, you’re able to create space, and when you can create space you can get by anyone.
Question: I’m not a complete player, but I am very sharp. What should I focus on in practice? Practice my shooting, one of my weakness, or continue to enhance my other strengths, perhaps come up with something new?
Bryant: Always weaknesses. If you’re up against a tough defense, they’re not going to let you drive. But if you have a shot, then the defense has to honor that. But it’s not just basketball, it’s life in general. You have to work on your weaknesses.
Question: Last year I also seriously injured my Achilles tendon, I lost a lot of bounce, maybe the sport of basketball is not good for me? I won’t be good. Can I still play or not?
Bryant: I accepted that I might not get it back. Once you let it go, then you don’t play with the burden of feeling like you lost something. Instead, I gained something because I started to play more with this (mind), and less with my athleticism.
Question: I like the rhythm of run and gun, but my half-court offense is decent, how do you mix the two rhythms appropriately?
Bryant: Just slow down. When I practice, I go at the same tempo all the time. That’s done purposefully. During games, if I’m out of tempo, I know it and can go back to that rhythm I’m comfortable with. It all comes with repetition.
Question: I would like to know how when you’re so fast, and how you get rid of the opponents double-team? Relying on your own body better or timing? Maybe pass to a teammate? How do you keep perspective?
Bryant: It’s all about spacing and timing. Have good shooters around you to create spacing on the floor. Then it’s timing, try to get away from the double team before it gets to you. But the deadliest weapon to beat a double team is a pull up jump shot. Too fast to stop.
Bryant: The greatest competition you’ll ever face, is yourself. That’s the greatest challenge. It’s difficult to look inside yourself and face adversity or accept the fact that you may have weaknesses. Once you conquer that, you can conquer anything.