The next time someone tells you Kobe Bryant wasn’t a good leader, link them to this video.
It takes more than sitting down with your teammates at dinner and playing card games with them. A leader can teach his team what it means to win just by playing the game the right way. Kobe Bryant was the main factor in restoring glory to the United States after a series of pathetic performances from 2002-2006. From the moment he was added to represent team USA in 2007 until after he won his second gold medal in 2012, Kobe found ways to impact the game in several ways. He played defense on opposing teams’ best players, shutting them down drastically if not entirely, and worked just as hard as he always did, influencing his entire star-studded roster to think about what it means to really prepare and train for a game or a season.
This is one of the many understated highlights of his career, and perhaps the main reason he is in a league of his own in the post-Jordan era. When it came down to winning the most important games in the world, a team full of big name superstars looked to Kobe Bryant to show them how it’s supposed to be done.
Surely enough, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and more players began to train differently, following Kobe’s routines, and you may have noticed a big change in their NBA play as well, starting from 2007-2008. This is what it means to lead. It’s no surprise that so many players in the NBA have been influenced directly by Kobe, and continue to look to him to learn how to train better, and play at a higher level.