Former Lakers Teammate Explains How Kobe Bryant Treated Every Practice Session Like It Was ‘Game 7’

Published 07/22/2021, 12:03 AM EDT
WALTHAM, MA – JUNE 20: The Boston Celtics try out Kobe Bryant as coaches look on. (Photo by Tom Landers/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant was a generational athlete who achieved everything with an innate drive to become the greatest ever. His life was so impactful that people relate the word ‘Mamba’ more with a way of living than with a species of venomous snakes. 

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Certainly a Top 5 player to have ever donned a Lakers jersey, Kobe was a result of his mindset. It would not be boastful to say that he was an NBA Champion in his mind even before entering the league. A former teammate of Kobe Bryant recently gave an interview where he marked a stamp on this theory.

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Jon Barry revealed how it felt while in scrimmage alongside Kobe Bryant

On the Dan Patrick Show, NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry’s son and former Laker Jon Barry showed up to discuss various details. In one of the sequences, he discussed how he as a 28-YO felt about a 19-YO Kobe Bryant during his LA days. Notably, Jon represented the Lake Show in 1997-98 where he played 49 games in total.

In the interview, the retired guard detailed, “100% every day in practise when it was Game 7. We get ready for the scrimmage, we’re on the second team, and he was going after Eddie Jones everyday to show coach Del Harris like ‘no, this is my job, I don’t know why this guy’s starting’. Literally, every day was Game 7 when we started scrimmaging.”

Later in the interview, he also accepted the tension between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. However, Jon maintained the fact that KB was a man with extreme competitiveness and a mindset like that of an NBA veteran.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant during warmups prior to Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets in Denver May 25, 2009. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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What made the Black Mamba so highly competitive?

For one, Kobe Bryant was the son of a successful baller and former Philly player, Joe Bryant. So he grew up watching his dad compete and also saw how his father could never win a major accolade. So perhaps a young Kobe always had it in mind to win everything his father might have wished for himself.

As a result, #8/#24 with his Mamba Mentality became a clutch expert with great defensive prowess. An elite scorer, Kobe improved on all of his weaknesses so much so that his work ethic became a case study for athletes around him. He was none lesser than MJ in terms of madness for winning competitions.

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Just as the 51-YO added, “The guy was as driven as any guy I’ve ever known. Like Michael Jordan, he’s as close as John Smoltz, those three most competitive guys I’ve ever met.”

Now that said tons about the late Bryant who laid down a blueprint for others to follow in order to lead in life. If you too have a story to share where KB influenced you, we’d love to read those in the comments below. 

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Sourabh Singh

1439 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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