Sunday Special: It’s The Little Things

Darius Soriano —  July 18, 2010

If I wanted to, I could probably go to YouTube every day and find a different Kobe Bryant video to link to or put up in a post.  He’s an easy player to celebrate as he’s given fans so many memorable moments over the years.  Whether it’s the game winners, the high scoring games, or the aerial shows he put on in his younger years Kobe has cemented his place as one of the all time greats.  And while it’s easy to celebrate the finished results of the ball going through the basket,  I’ve always been most appreciative of his fundamentals that create the opportunities for Kobe to even get shots off.  Whether it’s his ball handling, foot work, or his tremendous understanding of angles and leverage, Kobe consistently shows a mastery of the little things and it’s his commitment to bettering himself and polishing the fundamentals of the game that take his otherworldly natural talent to the next level.  And while this is a topic that we’ll explore more over the course of the Summer, I wanted to share a video I found that shows some of the little things – the fundamental things – that make Kobe such a special player. So, enjoy the jab steps, reverse pivots, step thoughs, drop steps, escape dribbles, and everything else that Mr. Bean has to offer.  Enjoy.

Darius Soriano

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49 responses to Sunday Special: It’s The Little Things

  1. A thing of beauty.

  2. I will never get tired of these Kobe videos, ever. I cannot wait until the new season begins, is this a bad thing at this point of the summer?

  3. Yes, you can watch these and never tire of them. Kobe is so skilled and can improvise in any situation. Just amazing.

    Does anyone have news of Kobe and Bynum in terms of getting their fingers/knees/etc. healed?

    Their health is probably the main concern the Lakers have this off-season.

  4. Not only does SHAQ lack Kobe’s “fundamentalvelocification,” he’s now the big Triple B (Big Bridge Burner).

    Wow, Kobe’s truly awesome. Some people hate the person, but no one can hate his game.

  5. @DY- just the fact that you’re mentioning Shaq means you’ve got some kobe-legacy doubts in the back of your head..It’s okay to admit it used to be Shaq’s team. Now it’s all about Kobe and he’s enjoying his honeymoon years now

  6. Kobe can get a makable shot off under almost any circumstances. I think it’s his footwork that sets him apart from other perimeter scorers.

  7. 5. Ha, got ya. Freudian slip I suppose. Kobe is all on his own now, no doubt about that. Wonder if Kobe does capoeira or is a nasty tap dancer. Kobe’s footwork is one reason why he’ll still be an elite-level player for a long time to come. Others who rely solely on their athleticism eventually realize how slowly but surely it escapes them, like water in one’s hand.

  8. Sorry for the double post…but did you see Shannon’s “footwork” in his cameos in Toni Braxton and Monica’s videos? Safe to say, if he signs a lucrative deal with Toronto, Milwaukee, or any other non-LA team, that opportunity to display his “footwork” does not exist. Another selling point to ShanWOW when he thinks about playing elsewhere.

  9. Great share. These are the things that define legends.

    Damn it the Heat are doing a good job filling out their roster. Second shooter in James Jones now. Their size doesn’t impress me much outside of Z, but Magloire and Pittman are still big bodies. And Pittman is a guy we all thought could be a serious NBA player if he gets into shape.

    Let’s hope they sign Smush Parker as their starting point guard.

  10. Snoopy – I have to second your take on Miami’s efforts. They seem to be adding those little, minimum wage deals that put those small complementary pieces in place. A lot of pretty average/below average players, but who should fit with whatever system they are going to run (high screen isolations with wing shooters ready for the kickout no doubt!).

    And to get back on topic – loved the video. Look at how square he gets his shoulders to the hoop, even off multiple fakes and with very tight defensive pressure. Amazing.

  11. Re: Miami Supporting Cast

    I’m pretty sure everyone who thought (or pretended to think) the Heat wouldn’t get serviceable role players to play with “Miami Thrice” (they need to do a better job on that nickname) was just a frightened Lakers fan on this site. Although I am worried Miami hurts the Lakers chances of winning a 3rd straight championship… I as a capitalist am looking forward to the Lakers now looking to improve their roster in hopes of keeping pace with this new dream team. And as a fan I am looking forward to one of the best NBA Final matchups potentially (based on talent) of all time.

  12. @ DY: i know right. that video just disturbed me. but it’s july so i guess they can be amateurs at something for now. couple of guys in SSR seemed to like his touches though. let’s see if he brings those handles to court.

    @ snoopy and aus: yes please i love to hear a take on that. Darius, can you, may you please also add your thoughts now that miami is more than halfway done filling-out a 14-man roster (is it filling-out or filling-up…man my english)? aus, though i do think some names there are already washed up it comes to mind the celtics of 08 with those veterans playing tough minutes on us. i would now be as delusional as some heat fans if i said this heat team could not make it to the finals and challenge for real. they can.

    which brings me to another video on youtube. i just loved, and found strange maybe because of the soundtrack, LD2K’s “phil’s last stand” video which some said is also LD2K’s last video. the heat etc are realigning against, posing perhaps the biggest challenge to phil and the lakers. one last dynasty to defend.

    then cue the kobe video then you’ll know it will be a battle than an easy 4-0 walk, again some delusional posters from heat boards are saying.

    what a sight to see them call some laker posters trolls, losers and delusional. speak for yourselves amigos, the lakers dynasty is not done yet.

    GO LAKERS!

  13. The heat are putting together a good roster but its going to all come down to how well they play together and nobody including them no that yet but I will take a focused kobe and lakers over the miami hype any day the lakers are one of the few teams that can match up with them man to man

  14. The move at the minute mark (58 secs or so) is just sick.

  15. Personally, I don’t really care how Miami goes around with filling out their roster. Whatever happens with them, it just does… nothing we can do about it.

    I’m fine with trusting the Lakers to make the most out of what they have now to counter the rapid changes going on around them.

  16. I love how Kobe wags his finger at Sasha when he tries to high five him at the end of the video… Poor machine.

  17. ReignOnParades July 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Let us quickly compile a list of the best Kobe vids on YouTube and otherwise:

    Return of Kobe (06)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW9oVXP6CF8

    Greatness Personified (career up to 09)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyKgaeAoa-g

    The Clinic (08 – 09)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FpzQiERt8I

    The Clinic II (see Greatness Personified)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEGt6fvLEyU

  18. wow…

    Kobe’s ability to make difficult shots seem “routine” makes his skills very easy to take for granted.

    the Heat look REALLY good on paper right now, but remember… a similar-looking team fell short of expectations on the international stage until Kobe came on board. if everyone on the Lakers is healthy come Finals time, i still love our chances. they have no answer for us inside and on the boards in a series.

    anyway, thanks for the video, Darius! =)

  19. Kobe’s the dude, plain and simple. That turnaround, fall away jumper has to be my favorite shot. As I have gotten older (mid 30’s, but been in love with game since I was tyke) I am less impressed by sheer displays of athleticism. It is the skill moves that really get me going. That is the main reason I still miss the Dream so much.

    But Kobe has done the Dream, and every other truly skilled player real justice. Keep it up, Kobe!

    And can we stop worrying about the Heat? The Lakers are the two time defending champs. No they are not without flaws. But they have made three straight trips to the Finals. Kobe and Pau are battle tested.

    It takes a lot more than talent to win a title. The Lakers have proven they have the “a lot more” factor.

  20. T. Rogers – Amen. Man, I miss the Dream. Will we ever see pivot moves like that from a big man again? I really doubt it.

  21. Darius, loved the footage of the current Kobe! Mark E, loved the footage of the young-un, known as Kobe.

    Especially liked Kobe getting his shot off against the defense of D-Wade and Lb-James. Never hurts to have any motion displayed with the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer “Sangreal!”

    Another player has the ad campaign, “witness,” well Kobe fans have witnessed his transition to greatness before our very eyes!

    In youth traveling team basketball, the shoe companies would assemble mega talented teams to play in tournaments. They’d have all of the top talent assembled to ‘win’ a tournament championship. But, occasionally these superstar teams would come up against a talented team that had no fear of the names assembled to play against them and they’d win! Lakers/Heat

    A ‘real team’ with no fear and a good coach will win in tight games. Did anyone say that it would be easy? No! But, the Lakers can and will win the 2011 championship if healthy!

  22. Off topic, but valuable nonetheless is Michael Jordan’s take on Lebron teaming up with Wade & Bosh down in Miami:

    “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team …. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”

    Spoken Like A True Champion & The Smirk On His Face While Making That Statement Also Spoke Volumes.

  23. That Kobe video was great, but it made me remember how much I’ve grown to dislike Joel Meyers. It was nice to not have to hear him after so many playoffs games had been played and the networks took over the TV coverage. Then I watch that video and I’m right back into the bang-my-head-against-a-wall mode thinking of this inane calls.

    “So that’s the way it begins…”
    “Short-corner-three…”

    The part where he’s just gushing all over Kobe — like Mike Breen would probably gush if he lived out his dreams of seeing Rondo alone in the shower — was the most disgusting part. “Greatest player in franchise history,” as if that debate was over and done with, no more questions asked.

    Kobe may well be the best Laker ever, but to be so emphatic just comes off like a guy who’s a huge suck up.

  24. Tra – Is there a video clip of Michael saying that? Would just like to see the look on his face as he said that.

  25. Thanks needle. What a competitive spirit. Even as he’s sitting back and playing golf, you can tell he’s wishing he had a chance in his prime to go up against Kobe and Lebron and Wade.

  26. Chris J – Yeah, I think that “greatest” part was the only bit of the video that rubbed me the wrong way too. With Chick, I thought that the LA commentary team was one of the least “homer” teams in the league. Sure, they wanted the Lakers to win, but Chick ALWAYS took them to task when they didn’t play the right way, and very rarely fawned over them like Joel does.

    BUT – still loving these quality videos. So well put together. Love it.

  27. Renato Afonso July 19, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Hey Darius,

    Are we going to have a thread about the Summer League now that it ended? I want some place to tell everyone how Jeremy Lin would be an awesome pickup for the Lakers!

  28. Great fundamentals! But I miss seeing him penetrate more to the rim as he did in his younger years. Nonetheless, his fundamentals will carry him for a long time and hopefully for a few more rings!

  29. Needle, thanks for the link.

    T.R. & Snoopy: Right there with you guys (early 40’s) raised on Showtime. Magic was another one who didn’t rely on superhuman athleticism, but sublime court-vision and understanding of the game.

  30. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5391478

    Jordan discusses how he never would have joined Bird and Magic in order to win because he wanted to beat those guys. This is what separates Kobe from other players in the league. Very few have had this competitive edge that Jordan had, and Kobe definitely has it. Sure, he flirted with signing with the Bulls and the Clippers years back, but it wasn’t to join 2 other top players in the league. He wanted to win with a team built around him.

    Between this attitude and Kobe’s fundamentals, Kobe is the best player of his generation. He may never top Jordan as GOAT, but he’s definitely closer to Jordan than any other player ever. We should feel honored to have him play for us for the past 14 years and we need to appreciate the few years he has left. It may be a long time til LA has another player as good as Bryant.

  31. # 32, Ethan: “Between this attitude and Kobe’s fundamentals, Kobe is the best player of his generation. He may never top Jordan as GOAT, but he’s definitely closer to Jordan than any other player ever. We should feel honored to have him play for us for the past 14 years and we need to appreciate the few years he has left. It may be a long time til LA has another player as good as Bryant.”

    I’m in 100% Agreement with your Statement.

  32. This caught my eye from the Yahoo sports article:

    “Nevertheless, the pressure on Spoelstra to win a championship in 2011 promises to be immense. To keep his job, he’ll probably have to win it all, especially because Riley has his eye on Doc Rivers to someday coach the Heat. Rivers has one year left on his Celtics contract, and has been heavily affected by the distance between him and his family still living in Orlando.”

    Doc would be a good fit with this group given what he has done with the big 3 in Boston. Riley has made some (obviously) nice player moves and now he seems to have a good backup plan in place for the head coach.

  33. Darius,

    Can you update the sidebar? Specifically, if you can list all the NBA teams and their respective blogs. I know you mention it during Game Previews, but it would be nice to have every team (arranged by division) readily available on the right sidebar (along with the team name; ala TrueHoops). Sometimes, I prefer the sports blog that you mention as opposed to those only in the TrueHoop network.

    Also, are there any plans to update the website (not that I don’t like how it is now)?

  34. espnlosangeles has the Lakers talking to Harvard undrafted guard Jeremy Lin.

    6-3 Asian kid from harvard, does that automatically make him a good fit for the triangle?

  35. here’s some footage of Jeremy Lin in the summer league…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvkXmMcGfLo&feature=player_embedded

  36. If you watch Jeremy Lin’s Summer League highlights, you’ll see somebody who can really play. Would the Lakes have room for a rookie guard after signing Blake? A Fisher replacement down the road?

  37. This is hilarious. David Kahn compares Darko to Chris Webber and Vlade Divac…to Webber’s face. Webber’s reaction is priceless.

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/98677629.html

  38. Lin reminds me a bit of Coby Karl, in the limited minutes I’ve seen of him. Not as good, and definitely not as good a shooter, but I guess he could be intriguing. I certainly wish we had held on to Karl.

  39. Somebody tell me— what’s the latest on Bynum’s knee and Bryant’s finger? Have they had surgeries yet? And what’s the prognosis?

    My personal feeling is that no one will really know how much Kobe’s broken finger hampered his performance this last season. I’ve had several broken fingers, and the pain is tremendous. I just can’t imagine how he performed (and adjusted) the way he did and still led his team to a championship.

    And it would be nice to think that Bynum’s problems are an anomaly; that he isn’t the fragile, injury-prone kid his first few seasons would indicate. My personal take is that he’s just been unlucky and that he’ll be fine.

  40. what’s the title of the music background?

  41. Very instructive. One day he should do his own basketball fundamentals dvd

  42. Well, this afternoon, when the Lakers announced that Kobe’s knee surgery was successful, I got the answer to my question — sort of. The interview with Kobe and the “Laker Sources” stated that the finger had not yet been repaired surgically, and that it was still under consideration. It also confirmed my observation, that he withstood incredible pain and had a hard time feeling the basketball.

  43. KOBE IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. I guess the finger deal is that it isn’t operable — now! — and that he’ll just have to play with a lump at the first joint. That’s the price he paid for another ring. At least there won’t be pain or a splint. If anyone hears differently, drop a note.