Kobe Bryant was well-known for his dogged determination before his sudden death in a helicopter crash this January.
And that determination apparently was on full display during the 2008 Summer Olympics in London.
Bryant competed in the Olympics for the first very time in 2008, two months after the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. And while he helped lead the United States’ men’s basketball team to its first gold medal since the 2000 Games, the Finals loss apparently still weighed on him during Team USA’s the run.
Bryant made this apparent during a night of card-playing and wine-drinking during the games, according to WNBA superstar Sue Bird.
“He was fresh off (the Finals loss) and you could tell (he was still thinking about it),” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike via video chat. “… (We were) just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.
“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”
(You can check out the video here.)
Bryant was 41 when he died.
Thumbnail photo via Instagram/Paul Pierce