Kobe Bryant was one of the most intrinsically motivated athletes of all time, and fellow legend Sue Bird shared just one example of that on social media today, as she recalled a story involving Bryant and longtime rival Paul Pierce.
The 2007-08 NBA season was a wild one like no other for the Los Angeles Lakers. It started even before it officially began with Bryant adamantly demanding a trade, citing the team’s failure to rebuild around him.
It looked like it would be yet another season where the Purple and Gold would have to huff and puff just to have a chance of sneaking into the playoffs.
But against all odds, they got off to a great start thanks to the emergence of their young players, in particular Andrew Bynum.
Then, with the team sitting at 24-11, Bynum suffered a dislocated kneecap and bone bruise that would end his season.
Everyone took a deep breath and hoped for the best, and they got just that and much more, as Pau Gasol was acquired unexpectedly on Feb. 1.
It was full steam ahead for the Lakers after that – until the Boston Celtics cut them down in six games for the NBA championship.
That humiliating loss would motivate Bryant and the Lakers for two full years, until they finally got revenge in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against those same Celtics.