Back in the 2000 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant suffered the “worst sprained ankle” of his career. Unable to play hoop that summer, the Mamba picked up tap dancing to work on his ankle.
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest icons the sporting world has been privileged to witness. After dedicating uncountable hours in the gym, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Black Mamba really reached the pinnacle of the game at the end of his career.
Bean had a work ethic unlike any others – would even hit the gym despite sustaining injuries. And had a crazy obsession with perfecting his craft. The sheer competitive spirit he possessed and his fixation to be the best at any given point is what help him set apart from the rest of the superstars.
Kobe had a knack for finding inspiration for the unlikeliest sources. Believe it or not, the Mamba really found inspiration and structured his game around German composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s classical music. And one time, Bryant even took up tap dancing to rehab from an ankle injury.
Kobe Bryant reveals how he took up tap dancing during the 2000 offseason
Back in 2000, during Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Pacers, Kobe Bryant suffered what he calls “the worst sprained ankle” of his career. Even though Kobe was sidelined for the remainder of Game 2 and missed Game 3, he was able to play the remainder of the series, helping the Lakers win the first of their three consecutive championships.
After emerging victorious in the 1999-2000 season, Bryant, because of his ankle injury, was unable to play basketball in the offseason. Tap dancing was the solution Kobe turned to throughout that summer.
In his autobiography “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play”, the 5-time Champion mentioned how tap dancing not only helped him strengthen his ankles but at the same time improved his foot speed and rhythm. Kobe wrote:
“After that injury I missed Game 3 but managed, thanks to stimulation therapy, to play the rest of the series. This treatment involves wires that deliver low-level electrical current directly through your skin. It actually helps bring the pain down. But the ankle was so bad that, to be honest, I couldn’t hoop much that summer. What I did do, though, was take up tap dancing.
That’s right: tap dancing.
That was my worst sprain, but it certainly wasn’t my first. I realized at that point I needed to be proactive about strengthening my ankles. After researching the matter, it became apparent that tap dancing was going to be the best way to build up my ankle strength while simultaneously improving my foot speed and rhythm. So I hired an instructor and started going to the studio. I worked on it all of that summer and benefited for the rest of my career.”
Was there anything Kobe Bryant didn’t do? Man was a legend 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/dn91Y8maww
— Advait Jajodia (@AdvaitJajodia) October 15, 2021
Tap dancing the entire summer to work on his craft? Clearly, the cannot quite be any other athlete like Kobe Bryant.