Talent can get you to the NBA, but hard work is the difference between being good and great. Here are the ways Kobe Bryant's tireless work ethic has made him the stuff of legends.Credit: Chris Humphreys, Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Kobe might be known for his legendary work ethic, but so was his predecessor Michael Jordan. MJ was famous for the work he put in to being great, and he said, "Kobe had done that work to deserve the comparison." That is high praise from the G.O.A.T.Credit: VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images
During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade told ESPN that one morning the team came down for breakfast to see Kobe Bryant drenched in sweat. While the team was just waking up for breakfast, Bryant had already gone through a three-and-a-half-hour workout.Credit: Chris Humphreys, Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Four years later, Kobe Bryant went into the 2012 Summer Olympics looking for an edge. Bryant decided to lose 16 pounds to help his knees handle the rigors of playing in the NBA and Olympics.Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Bryant is known for his crazy practice habits. He created those routines in high school. According to a Sports Illustrated interview, Bryant would practice at 5 a.m. before school started.Credit: Bill Streicher, Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
In that same Sports Illustrated interview, Bryant said he would play one-on-one games with his high school teammates. Seems normal, right? Except Bryant would play games to 100! In his worst game, Kobe defeated his opponent 100-12.Credit: Robert Hanashiro, Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
All of Bryant's practicing in high school paid off. Kobe's pre-draft workouts were the stuff of legends. In a Lakers workout, Bryant matched up against Michael Cooper, one of the best defenders in the league. After Bryant shredded Cooper, Jerry West famously said, "OK, I've seen enough."
The Lakers then pulled off a draft-day trade with the Hornets to select Bryant straight out of high school.Credit: Juan Ocampo, NBAE/Getty Images
Along with a healthy diet, Kobe Bryant simply outworks other players. He goes by the '666' plan, which represents working out six hours a day, six days a week for six months in the offseason.
The six hours of training consists of two hours of running, two hours of basketball and two hours of weightlifting. Sounds easy, right?Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images
Kobe couldn't possibly keep up the '666' workout regimen, so he just works out four hours a day on game days, according to an interview with Men's Fitness.Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
Calling Kobe Bryant a student of the game would be an understatement. At halftime, the Black Mamba likes to watch film of himself from the first half. Bryant also helps his teammates with adjustments while watching the tape.Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein, NBAE/Getty Images
Even injuries can't stop the Black Mamba. During the 1999-2000 season, former teammate John Celestand was excited to be the first player in the gym for a workout after Kobe Bryant broke his wrist. Of course, Bryant, with a cast on his broken wrist, was still the first Laker at practice. Bryant was shooting and dribbling with his off hand.Credit: Getty Images
Shooting is all about muscle memory and rhythm. For Kobe Bryant, he practices until he makes between 700 and 1,000 shots a day.Credit: Soobum Im, Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
In case you were wondering, Kobe is serious about making over 700 shots a day. At a Team USA event in Las Vegas, Kobe Bryant practiced from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. because he had to make his "800 shots."Credit: Danny La, Danny La-USA TODAY Sports
In 2007, O.J. Mayo was the top recruit at Bryant's Kobe Basketball Academy. Mayo asked Kobe to work out with him and Bryant graciously accepted. Kobe said he'd pick him up at three. After Bryant failed to show up, Mayo asked Kobe what happened. "Three in the morning," Kobe replied. "Not three in the afternoon."Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY Sports
At Team USA's first night, Kobe Bryant rode 40 miles, at night, in the desert of Las Vegas because he wanted to introduce bike training into his workout routine.
Fellow competitors, like Blake Griffin, weren't sure if the story was true. It was.Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports, Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports
This might not have anything to do with basketball, but it's still speaks to how determined and intelligent Kobe Bryant is. Bryant divulged on Twitter that he taught himself Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" by ear.Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Like in high school, Kobe Bryant would keep Lakers teammates after practice so he could try out some new moves. One player in particular got to experience Kobe's post-practice work ethic ...Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant, NBAE/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant heard Tony Gaffney was a lock-down defender, so Bryant asked him to show up before practice to play one-on-one. Bryant put a series of stipulations like he could only dribble and score with his weak hand. Oh yeah, Bryant didn't let Gaffney play any offense, either.Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
According to Gaffney, Bryant would be in the gym at 6 a.m., then take his daughters to school at 8, only to return to the court an hour later to continue shooting before practice officially started.Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Since joining the NBA in 2002, Caron Butler was always a rotation player, who showed glimpses of talent. But once Butler joined the Lakers, he credited Kobe Bryant for his career by showing him how to prepare and be a professional. Following Butler's tenure with the Lakers, the forward had his five best seasons scoring wise.Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY Sports
In an interview with Bloomberg, Kobe Bryant admitted that he likes to "cold call" successful entrepreneurs to "pick their brain about stuff." Some of the people he's called include: Oprah Winfrey, Jonathan Ive and Arianna Huffington.Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
Former Laker Shaquille O'Neal said in his book "Shaq Uncut" that Kobe Bryant would routinely show up to practice three hours early every day. And Bryant would practice in some peculiar ways.
"You'd walk in there and he'd be cutting and grunting and motioning like he was dribbling and shooting -- except there was no ball," O'Neal said. "I thought it was weird, but I'm pretty sure it helped him."Credit: Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images
If a broken wrist can't stop Kobe Bryant, then why would some minor pain? In the offseason, Kobe subscribes to the notion "No pain, no gain." Kobe told Men's Fitness, "You're going to have to feel some pain, you're going to have to feel like your lungs are burning, and you know, you want to spit up blood, that sort of thing."Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY Sports
Staying in shape is a must for any athlete, especially those who have 20-year careers. Bryant's diet includes includes bone broth for joint health, grass-fed beef and organic green tea, while he cuts out sugar, fatty meats and empty carbs.Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein, NBAE/Getty Images
You might be asking yourself, "When does Kobe Bryant actually sleep?" Well, Bryant practices segmented sleep, which means he sleeps in two-hour portions throughout the day, instead of sleeping six to eight hours, like normal people.Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein, NBAE/Getty Images