Lakers great Kobe Bryant speaks out against load management in the NBA: 'It's crazy'
Bryant says players owe it to fans 'paying their hard-earned money' to play if they're healthy
Kobe Bryant was a player who was well known for his drive and work ethic during his own playing days. That's why it comes as no surprise that the Los Angeles Lakers legend is not a fan of the trend of increased rest for healthy star players in the NBA today -- now commonly referred to as "load management."
"What the hell is that?" Bryant said in an interview with Valuetainment, in reference to healthy players taking nights off. "I don't know what that is. That's crazy. Seriously, it's crazy. You've got a lot of people paying their hard-earned money to come watch you perform. Perform. Perform. It's your job to be in shape. It's your job to be strong enough to perform at that level every single night."
In addition to wanting to appease the paying customer, Bryant's personal pride as a competitor pushed him to play on a nightly basis. He used an example of a game that he and the Lakers had against the Vince Carter-led Toronto Raptors in 2000 to drive this point home.
"As a competitor, I'm not ducking shit," Bryant said. "Like, it's not, 'Oh, my back hurts. I'm sore. We gotta play Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors tonight.' We actually had this happen. We had a game against Toronto in 2000, and Vince was tearing the league up. My back was jacked, jacked. But the perception of that, Kobe is missing a game against Toronto and Vince Carter. My back was really having spasms on me. But people would have looked at me like, 'Oh, he's ducking Vince.' Excuse me? No, I don't think so.
"So I would be in the layup line like, 'OK, there are a lot of days where you can rest and recover. Today ain't one of them. Your back can bother you any other day, that shit ain't bothering me today. He's gonna have to see me today.'"
Despite the fact that he didn't take nights off unless he was dealing with an injury issue, Bryant was able to play 20 seasons in the NBA, so he clearly knows something about durability. It's safe to say that most paying fans agree with Bryant's attitude toward 'load management,' even if not all of the current players do.
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