Gary Payton Reveals What Made Kobe Bryant Different: "He Didn't Have A Fear Of Nothing..."

From 1996 to 2016, Kobe Bryant made history as one of the NBA's legendary performers. As an 18x All-Star, 5x champion, and 15x All-NBA player, Bryant was a cut above the typical baller, and it wasn't just his activity on the court that made him so tough to beat.

As Gary Payton would go on to explain in a chat with Kevin Garnett, it was also Kobe's relentless pursuit of greatness that made him such a tough opponent. According to Payton, Bryant never shied away from opportunities to get better, and it's partly why Payton took a young Bryant under his wing. 

"Kobe was already different, he was a different kid," said GP. "Kobe didn't have a fear of nothing to ask nobody to get better. So he came by me and was like, 'big bro man you'll be doing this and that and that... I really wanna learn this man. I really want to learn it because of you. And when he said that, that took something out of me and took something in my heart that a kid with his ability and knowing where he was going wants to really learn and he doesn't have an ego."

For as fearless and ruthless as Bryant was on the surface, he was actually a man of humility underneath. While he could have just as easily ignored his competitors and stuck to what he knew best, he often reached out to others in an attempt to get better and learn from the best. 

Kobe's Competitive Spirit Was Unmatched

Looking back, Bryant was a truly unique type of player. No matter the game, or the stakes, he always played to win and never gave anything but maximum effort on the court. Oftentimes, his competitive nature spread like a virus to his teammates and it helped maintain a culture of winning in Los Angeles for many years.

"Kobe was a different animal," Shaq said. "You see Jordan and you see the competitor. But Kobe was a different animal. Like I used to see Kobe dribble and shoot, without no ball for an hour, and then go out there and do the same move."

One glance at Kobe's resume will tell you how much of a success his career really was but even now Kobe is celebrated for his "winners" mindset that helped inspire an entire generation of young athletes.

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