Gilbert Arenas was one of the deadliest scorers in the league in his prime, but he acknowledges how Kobe Bryant was on a whole another level.
No Chill Gil is one of the few players – might be the only guard – to drop 60 points in the Black Mamba’s grill. This was a guy who had the offensive bag from all 3 ranges and had the body type to absorb contact.
At his prime, Gil would take and make all sorts of ridiculous shots on any player guarding him. He was averaging well north of 25 points per game for a pretty long stretch, after all.
Kobe, meanwhile, was terrorizing the league to the tune of a ridiculous 35 points per game in 05-06. Everyone knew who the best player on the planet was. And everyone also knew that the best player on the planet was also downright the most insane worker.
It wasn’t just the intensity of how Kobe approached the game that inspired his peers. Basketball is a game of skill, reading angles, situations and timing. It takes a lot of brains to be able to execute hitherto unseen skills at game speed.
But all of that came naturally to Kobe because of how methodically and effectively he approached his workouts. Not only was the Black Mamba maximizing his court time during his playing years, he was also very efficient with them.
As a result, he built up a ledger of skill moves that might never be matched again in basketball history. Indeed, the son of a gun had every single skill in the game. Most players have a plan A, B or sometimes C, but Kobe had the alphabet.
“Kobe Bryant got hit harder in pre-game shootarounds than during the game!”: Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas interviewed John Wall ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season on the No Chill Podcast. The Wizards guard came down to explaining how similar his Achilles tear recovery and that of Kobe Bryant were.
It was at this point that the interview began focusing on how the Lakers legend approached the game. Gilbert Arenas gave us an interesting tidbit that just confirms all that we already know about him:
“I used to watch Kobe before the game, right? And when we went to a shootaround pre-game, getting our shots up, and you give a little hand? No no no, this man, in real-time, wanted full contact. And you better hit him how he gets hit in the game, before the game.”
“So if he’s doing 1-2 at the elbow, pump fake, you better jump. You better land on him. And I’m like ‘Yo, he’s getting hit harder in this than we are in the game!'”
“But to his trainers, he was all like ‘That’s not good, that’s not realistic. Raja Bell is not going to play me like that!'”