Kobe Bryant has opened up about how he feels heading into basketball games, saying he’s never felt intimidated on the court.
Kobe Bryant reached a point in his career with the Los Angeles Lakers where he felt like he knew what the outcome of a certain play would be based on simple rotations made by opposing players. The ‘Black Mamba’ was in tune and in sync with everything that was happening on the field and it happened in the mid 2000s.
Controlling the tempo of the game, figuring out exactly what kind of shot to take at what exact time in the shot clock was something Kobe Bryant had mastered as he approached his back-to-back title in 2009 and 2010.
With him having such knowledge of the game, mental toughness went with him. Luckily for the Philadelphia native, he had the utmost confidence in his game from the first time he set foot on the NBA hardwood.
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Toward the end of his run with the Lakers and in the NBA, Bryant spoke about his mental toughness.
Kobe Bryant says he never felt intimidated by the hardwoods of the NBA.
In an interview Kobe Bryant did in 2013 (17 years into his career), he covered a variety of topics ranging from his relationship with Michael Jordan to his ability to drop 50 points in an NBA game (spoiler alert – he lost 60 in his last game).
A rather intriguing question was his answer to the following question: “Have you ever been bullied on the basketball court?” Kobe’s response, as expected, was a non-elaboration.
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“Never. Not at all. My mind doesn’t work that way. It’s something that never even entered my thought process. The last time I was bullied was when I was 6 years in a karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a few years older and much bigger. I was scared sh*tless. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my ass.
“But then I realized he hadn’t kicked my ass as hard as I thought and there was really nothing to worry about. That’s about when I realized bullying doesn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.
Kobe Bryant admitted years later that the only other time he felt nervous was when he was preparing to play in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.