He could’ve easily arrived just basking in his celebrity, but it appeared Kobe Bryant just wanted to get to work.
Lakers’ training camp begins Saturday, but Bryant spent Thursday in Abu Dhabi as part of his Health & Fitness Weekend aimed to address diabetic issues. But the National, a Dubai-based newspaper, put together a video produced by Paul O’Driscoll showing that the Lakers’ star hosted a basketball clinic at the GEMS American Academy stressing one specific thing.
“The easy thing is to get on the basketball court and do all these silly and fancy moves,” Bryant said as he dribbled behind his back and performed a few cross overs. “But the most important things are basic fundamentals.”
Bryant hardly just spouted cliches. He went up and demonstrated, asking a camper to show his triple threat position, a shot fake and a drive after the shot fake. Bryant provided honest feedback albeit in an encouraging way. Bryant told the camper his left handed layup “was a little shaky” and then told him to “do it again.” After the camper smoothed out his left-handed shot, Bryant said, “Good job.”
Bryant guided through the campers with such drills for one simple reason. For all the theatrical shots he made en route to five NBA titles and a fourth-place ranking on the league’s all-time scoring list, Bryant pointed to basic concepts as the main reason for his success.
“That’s why I can play as well as I’m playing even though I’m 80 years old,” the 35-year-old Bryant joked as he enters his 18th season. “Because of the footwork.”
With Bryant rehabbing his torn left Achilles tendon in hopes to play for the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers, it’s likely he will have to rely on such skills moving forward. It doesn’t hurt that he emphasized those lessons to the campers eager to soak in Bryant’s wisdom.