Kobe Bryant missed out on his first-ever training camp with the Lakers. The Mamba was sidelined with a wrist injury he sustained while playing pick-up basketball at Venice Beach.
Kobe Bryant is, undoubtedly, one of the game’s greatest. Spending his entire career wearing the Purple and Gold colors, Kobe lived a rather celebrated life in LA. Spending numerous hours in the gym, working on his flaws, the Laker legend is one of the hardest workers the league has ever seen.
Dedicating hours, months, and even years to perfect his craft, the Mamba retired with one of the best resumes the league has ever seen. In his illustrious 2-decade long career, Bean was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA player, 12-time All-Defensive player, won an MVP, 5 championships, 2 Finals MVPs, and even has the ASG MVP trophy named in his honor.
The Black Mamba was one of the very few players who loved the game with a passion – so much so, he would often be seen playing even when he was injured. And it was his crazy passion for the game, that made him miss his first-ever training camp with LAL.
When Kobe Bryant missed his first training camp because of an injury he sustained playing pick-up basketball at Venice Beach
A young Kobe would pounce on every opportunity he got to play ball. And a couple of days before the Lakers’ training camp, Bryant injured his left wrist playing pick-up basketball at Venice Beach.
Jeff Pearlman wrote about it in his book “Three Ring Circus”:
“Because Bryant was young and dumb and a 24/7 hoops junkie, on the afternoon of Sept. 2 he visited the famed pickup courts of Venice Beach to get in a few runs. After leaping at the hoop to tip-dunk the ball, he fell toward the pavement and tried to catch himself with his left wrist. His 200-pound body landed atop his arms, and moments later he saw three knots bulging below his hand.
“The wrist was broken – and Jerry West was dumbfounded. The Lakers general manager greeted the news of the malady with stunned silence, responding to Gary Vitti, the team’s trainer, with a blank stare.
“‘He was doing what?’ West asked.
“‘Playing basketball at Venice,’ Vitti explained.
“‘Wait,’ West said. ‘Wait, wait. Wait. What?’
“It would be one of the last times the Lakers didn’t include a no-pickup basketball clause in the contract of a rookie signee.”
Bryant could’ve very well avoided the injury had he not played at Venice Beach. However, being crazily obsessed with basketball, Bryant just couldn’t turn down the offer.