Kobe Bryant was known for many things throughout his career. An incredible offensive game. A relentless defensive tenacity, particularly earlier in his playing days.
And of course, five championships.
But one thing that a lot of his hardcore fans really appreciated about him was his toughness and willingness to play despite being hurt.
During Kobe’s induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year, Vanessa shined a light onto why he played through injuries so much.
“Kobe was on a different level, he never took shortcuts when it came to basketball,” she said. “He gave this game his all. Kobe played through injury after injury. To name a few, he had IVs administered during halftimes to play through food poisoning and the flu. He played with a broken nose. He had a broken finger, and had it snapped back in place just enough to finish the game.
“He also taught himself how to use his left hand to play the rest of the season while his finger healed. He even swished two free throws with a torn Achilles, then walked off the court on his own.”
But why did he force himself to endure all that?
“People don’t know this, but one of the reasons my husband played through injuries and pain was because he said he remembered being a little kid, sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad to watch his favorite player [Michael Jordan] play,” Vanessa continued.
“Kobe didn’t want to disappoint his fans, especially the ones in the 300 sections that saved up to watch him play. I remember asking him why he couldn’t just sit a game out because he was hurting. he said, ‘what about the fans that saved up to watch me play just once?’ He never forgot about his fans.”
Kobe was a complex person in certain ways, as evidenced by Pau Gasol’s recent explanation on why he had no friends. But in other ways he could also be very straightforward – particularly when it came to his love of basketball.
Brittany Renner reveals what Colin Kaepernick made her do. https://t.co/Ynujeu5kzi
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 4, 2021
There is a reason why folks on the streets of LA reacted so strongly when one particular troll got bold and tried to insult his memory.
Kobe will live on in the hearts and minds of sports fans across the globe forever, and this latest story is just another example of why.