Over the last 20 years, Kobe Bryant has accomplished some truly amazing things. He has:
- Won five NBA titles
- Been named to 18 NBA All-Star teams
- Earned 11 All-NBA First Team selections
- Landed on 9 NBA All-Defensive First Teams
- Scored more points than any other player in Lakers’ history
But in a The Players’ Tribune piece published earlier today—the same one that featured his former Lakers teammates talking about the time he destroyed J.R. Rider in a game of 1-on-1—Brian Shaw revealed what may be Kobe’s greatest accomplishment of all time. According to Shaw, Kobe used to be able to memorize every single lyric on a Jay Z album…within 24 hours of it coming out.
OK, OK, so maybe “greatest accomplishment of all time” is a bit of a stretch. But Shaw said the entire Lakers team struggled to figure out how Kobe—the guy who was focused on basketball 24/7—had time to memorize all of Hov’s words. Here’s what Shaw remembers:
I always tell people this story when they ask me about Kobe. We would always freestyle on the back of the bus. Whenever a new Jay-Z album came out, it was a big deal. Guys would get it Day One and be rapping their favorite songs. Maybe they knew the first few bars or the hook. Well, Kobe would be on the back of the bus rapping every single line of every single song the day after the album came out. I’m talking every lyric. It was genuinely amazing. Nobody could figure out how it was possible.
Devean George explained it like this:
It was incredible. It didn’t make sense. I was always wondering, How in the world is this guy learning the lyrics so quickly? We’re all buying this stuff right when it comes out. We’re all listening to it. I don’t know the lyrics yet. How do you? It just came out 24 hours ago, bro!
I would picture him sitting up all night with his headphones on, scribbling the lyrics over and over in a notebook like my kids do when they study for an English test. The damn album just came out yesterday, and he knows it front to back.
George also added:
That’s when I realized, maybe this guy is a genius. Either that, or he was getting Jay to send him advance copies. Either way, that’s a little window into Kobe. He was obsessed with greatness.
If we had to guess, Kobe probably was getting advance copies of Jay’s albums. But still, it’s pretty amazing that a guy who lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball had time to listen to them enough to know every single word in a day. Even in the 11th hour of Kobe’s career, his legend continues to grow…
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[via The Players’ Tribune]