There has been a big trend over the last few years of basketball players routinely taking games off in the NBA. “Load management” has not only become a concept, but also a practice.
Kobe Bryant was the antithesis of load management. Bryant played in all 82 regular-season games five times during his career and often tried to play through injuries.
Why? The late Lakers legend’s wife Vanessa shared the reason on Saturday. Vanessa spoke on Kobe’s behalf at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She said that Kobe often refused to sit games because he wanted to perform for fans who had saved up to watch him play.
Vanessa Bryant recalled asking Kobe why he often refused to sit game: "I remember him asking, 'What about the fans that saved up to watch me play just once?'"
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 15, 2021
That is a wonderful attitude.
At the end of the day, the big contracts, the salaries and the league are all possible because of the fans who love their teams and watch the games. Many current players seem to forget that and seem to care about only themselves and their careers. Bryant kept it in mind. Fortunately for NBA fans, some other veteran players in today’s NBA do share that mentality.