“When I got traded to the Lakers in ’97, Kobe Bryant was just a rookie. The dude couldn’t shoot threes. We would play this shooting game every day after practice. It was me, Kobe, Brian Shaw, Mitch Richmond and Kurt Rambis. Kobe would lose every time. We would get to practice the next day and sure enough, Kobe would already be there shooting nothing but threes. Like clockwork, at the end of practice he’d say, “Let’s play the game! I’m ready for you.” And we would beat his ass again.
He would never stop. It was incredible. He practiced until one day, a couple months later, he finally won. If you literally said, “Kobe, I bet you can’t make five in a row by dropping the ball and kicking it in from half court,” that motherfucker would go out there and practice it until he could do it. And that’s what people don’t understand when they talk about champions — when they talk about a winner’s mentality. Kobe’s dedication to the game is unreal. And I mean that in the truest sense … it was literally unbelievable. The common denominator in every championship team is the mentality that Kobe has, and the mentality that Hakeem had with me at that Christmas party. You have to be so obsessed with winning that you pull no punches with your teammates, even when you’re in first place. Even when you’re a defending champ.
Whenever I hear people crying about Kobe yelling at people in practice, or wondering whether or not LeBron is best friends with his teammates, I just roll my eyes.” - Robert Horry.