Former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade recently offered a fascinating anecdote about the late Kobe Bryant’s incredible work ethic and how it motivated Wade to up his own game.
Wade recently spoke with NBA veteran J.J. Redick and noted how Bryant’s desire to perfect his game during the 2008 Summer Olympics was seemingly unquenchable.
At the time, Wade had played five seasons in the NBA and was competing in his second Olympics competition.
“We were in the Olympics,” Wade said. “This is when I knew Kobe was a monster though. You hear about it. You hear about it, but if you don’t see it, you don’t really know. We get into a city, in one of these cities very late, and immediately we all go to the gym. All my guys, it’s Melo (Carmelo Anthony), it’s me, it’s Bron (LeBron James), it’s Kobe. We all go to the gym and we all get our work in. It’s real late, and so after we get done getting our work in, me and my guys we say, ‘Hey, let’s meet for breakfast in the morning. If you can’t sleep, whoever the first one to wake up, hit us up, we gonna go eat.’
“So we do that. We probably get like three hours of sleep. You can’t much sleep when you’re traveling across the world like we were traveling, and we probably get like three hours of sleep and we wake up and go down to where the food is. As we’re walking down with sleep in our eyes, Kobe Bryant is sitting there with ice on his knees already, right? So we walk up to Kobe like, ‘Kob, what’s up?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah man, I just finished a workout and I’m about to go do another one.’
“At that moment, I was like, ‘Wait hold on. We just worked out about three hours ago and you’ve done another workout and you’re about to go do another one?’ That was when I was like, ‘Okay I gotta get my stuff together, I gotta get my s— together, because this dude right here is on a whole different level than even I’m on and I’m supposed to be great, right?’ So, that’s the kind of person he was and that’s how he drove me. You know what I mean? Little stuff like that I went back and said, ‘Ok, that means I gotta work hard and gotta do more.'”
At that time, Bryant had already won three NBA titles and would be part of his final two title teams with the Los Angeles Lakers during the following two seasons.
Wade and James would come together in 2010 and help lead the Heat to four consecutive finals appearances as well as league titles in 2012 and 2013.
All three players are already considered NBA legends, with Bryant’s shocking death this past January making his legacy all the more poignant.
From Wade’s comments, it’s clear that he continues to hold Bryant and his memory in high esteem and will continue to use the lessons he learned from him in the years ahead.