Kobe Bryant never would have agreed to rest for so-called “load management.”
The Black Mamba played 20 seasons of Hall of Fame basketball in the NBA, and says he only took time off when he was unable to walk.
Bryant is happily retired, and adds that “curiosity” is what separated him from his peers.
Per The Athletic:
What is your opinion on superstar players taking rest games during the season and if you would ever do that yourself?
KB: “No, the only time I took a game off is when I couldn’t walk. The thing about taking games off is your games, your seasons in your career go by really, really, quickly. So, you want to make sure you don’t miss any of those moments. The other part about that is there are kids in the crowd and families in the crowd…. this will be the only time they get a chance to see you. They save up their hard-earned money to watch you perform. So, if you can walk and perform get there and perform.”
What separated you from other NBA players?
KB: “The curiosity. Curiosity. Most players that play the game will just play it. Certain things will happen, some may be good, some may be bad. I don’t know. That wasn’t good enough for me. I want to know why. When I watch Tiny (Archibald) play, when I watch (Michael Jordan) play, when I watch Magic (Johnson) or Hakeem (Olajuwon) it wasn’t good enough just to watch them make a move. I wanted to slow it down, rewind it, (and) figure out why it worked. What was the timing? What was the angle? What could the defender have done better to stop that move? It was a constant search to try to figure out how to get better. Losing to the Celtics in ’08 wasn’t good enough to say, ‘They were a better team, we lost.’ No. Why did we lose? What could I have done better? I think it’s that constant curiosity that will separate you, I think.”