‘Not My Physically Gifted Athletes’: NBA Trainer Tim Grover on the False Truth About Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

Published 05/21/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
MIAMI – MAY 26: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls drives the ball up court against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 1997 NBA Playoffs at the Miami Arena on May 26, 1997 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Bulls 87-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1997 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were the most similar athletes in terms of hard work and determination. The work ethic that they followed was second to none. The commitment they produced during training, as well as on-court, was commendable. Jordan was a six-time NBA champion while Kobe won it five times. Coincidentally, both these players were trained by Tim Grover, and he often reflects on how hard these guys worked in training.

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In a recent interview with Ed Mylett, he commented on how these players worked very hard to reach the level they had.

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Tim Grover on MJ’s work ethic

“They were by far not my physically gifted athletes. There were many who jumped higher than MJ, who ran faster, who had better footwork than Kobe. How many times people have come up to you said I’ll do anything to get where you’re at, right? When I first started with them, when I was starting numerous, so what time is the first workout, I’d say 3.30. I’ll be like okay. It’s 3.30 am, I wouldn’t tell them am or pm, I’ll tell them 3:30.

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during the 1997 McDonald’s Championship. (Photo by Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

“So myself, my staff were sitting at, waiting, because winning doesn’t sleep and it doesn’t understand why you do. So now that we come back and they roll in the gym about 3.30, like what are you doing here, like you said 3.30, and I said when does a new day start and they look at me and he goes no I said the new day starts at 12 midnight,” said Tim.

Tim Grover reflected on how Michael Jordan and Kobe were not gifted like the other athletes he had. But, the determination to succeed was clear amongst these players as they wanted to be the best. Jordan hired Tim Grover to improve his core strength and his overall conditioning.

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Why was Michael Jordan so good?

The commitment he had to be the best was quite incredible. Notably, Jordan focused on core workouts were two days a week while also practicing his basketball skills for 2 hours. As mentioned earlier, Jordan was skeptical about lifting weights because of how he feared it would change his game. However, he eventually did that for over 15 years. Doing the same thing, again and again, would be monotonous, but Michael Jordan aimed to be the greatest player ever.

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Michael Jordan’s determination is something that many people wished they had. We underrate the advantages of having core strength for the game of basketball. It is often useful when the player drives to the rim amidst all the contact. Michael had that ability to finish to the rim in a much more dominating fashion than other players.

The gritty determination he possessed was staggering. Even though his offensive skill set was second to none, his physical attributes were exemplary. The ability to finish with contact, or to make a dunk on an opposing big man, was unmatched. “His Airness” remains to be one of the most premier athletes in the league’s history.

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Jacob Gijy

121 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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