Kobe Bryant provides too many definitions to the vigorous worker.
He obsesses over basketball. Bryant finds various nuances to enhance his game and prolong his longevity. He follows rehab procedures to an exact science so that he can recover as swiftly as possible. Each championship ring and scoring accomplishment only enhances his hunger for more. Bryant’s torn left Achilles tendon that will sideline him for at least another five to eight months has only built his resolve.
Bryant’s achieved all that by learning how to temper his uber competitiveness into a philosophy he once learned from former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
“Mental toughness is really about not getting too high or getting too low,” Bryant said in a recent video compilation put together by Youtube user theperson18. “It’s about staying pretty even keel. That’s kind of the trick to it not to get emotionally attached to the situation.”
Sure, Bryant has shown plenty of emotion.
He struts out his jaw anytime he takes over a game. Bryant often chews on his jersey. Of course, he often barks at officials and teammates over missed foul calls and poorly executed plays.
But Bryant has shown he doesn’t let that frustration to affect his mindset. He epitomized that perfectly after injuring his torn Achilles. Bryant still managed to make two free throws on one leg in the final moments of the Lakers’ 118-116 win April 12 over the Golden State Warriors. After initially showing emotion over his season-ending injury, Bryant vowed he would fight through it. And nearly 3 1/2 weeks since then, Bryant has gotten off crunches in favor of a walking boot and a scooter.
“If something is frustrating me, I can always not react to it,” Bryant said in the video. “I can always get right back to the pocket I need to be in pretty quickly.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org