“Kobe Bryant was talented but there was nothing really special about him”: Former Lakers athletic trainer Gary Witty reveals what made the Black Mamba unique

Arjun Julka
|Published April 02, 2022

Former Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitty gave an insight into what separated the late Kobe Bryant from his peers.

As the NBA continues to reel from the loss of Kobe Bryant, the Mamba’s legacy and unheard stories never seize to inspire. Whether it’s his teammates or rivals, everyone shares a deep respect for Kobe’s work ethic and discipline for the game of basketball.

The Lakers legend left everything on the hardwood, playing every game as if it was his last. For many, he was the closest thing to Michael Jordan. Though he wasn’t as talented as MJ, Kobe’s perseverance and work ethic made him an all-time great.

We’ve all heard stories of the Mamba making 100,00 shots one summer or spending hours improving his game before his teammates walked in for practice. Nonetheless, having seen Kobe’s work firsthand, former Lakers athletic trainer Gary Witty revealed what made the Mamba a champion.

Also read: “Remember when you said, Kobe Bryant will be the greatest player of all time”: What the Black Mamba told Shaq when they met for the first time

Witty had no qualms in admitting that the two-time Finals MVP wasn’t the most talented in the league, but his competitive drive and work ethic was unmatched.

Gary Witty tells us what made Kobe Bryant an all-time great.

It won’t be wrong to say that Kobe’s hard work exceeded his talent. The Lakers guard didn’t have Shaquille O’Neal’s size or Air Jordan’s shooting finesse yet was mentioned in the same conversation as them. The Mamba believed talent was of no use, if you couldn’t back it up with the work behind the scenes.

Vitty, who worked thirty-two for the Lakers organization as an athletic trainer, had never come across an athlete like Kobe, despite having worked with numerous great players and been to the Finals 12-times. The veteran trainer stated the Lakers MVP’s obsession with being the best player was unlike any other.

“Kobe was talented, but he wasn’t the most talented guy out there. I’m telling you, and I’ve seen em all, there’s nothing really special about Kobe. There were other players that had more talent than he did. So what was it about him that more talented players had 0 rings and he ended up with 5? Let’s go back to that talent thing. Kobe taught me that talent is the most overrated thing in life. It’s what you do with your talent. And this is what he did. He not only worked harder than anyone else, but he also worked smarter than anyone else. He was intellectually brilliant at his job.”

Via: Basketball Network

The eighteen-time All-Star sustained career-threatening injuries but came back stronger each time. Kobe’s Mamba Mentality is something every potential basketball player aspires to embody. Kobe is the classic example of how there is no substitute for hard work.

Also read: “Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of the most charismatic players ever!”: When Scottie Pippen Compared Lakers legend to His Airness

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About the author

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

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