Amongst the many highlights of his storied career, Kobe Bryant has had some great memories. These memories are fond for so many different reasons and each one is unique in its own way.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, LeBron James reveals that he is not an individual who enjoys reminiscing about basketball. He remembers the past as “a blur” and often finds it hard to remember actual games or events from his career.
Gary Vitti is the only coach to have won NBA championships with three different teams. In a recent interview, he shared some of his fondest memories from his career.
The basketball side of Kobe Bryant is well-known among NBA fans. Five NBA championships, 18 All-Player appearances, and two scoring crowns were among the achievements of the late Los Angeles Lakers star and Hall of Famer. That’s only the start of his basketball achievements. Bryant’s competitive zeal is well-known.
There were two Kobe Bryants, according to former Lakers trainer Gary Vitti. One was the well-known one. The other was the behind-the-scenes man who didn’t get nearly enough attention. Vitti recently cried up when talking about the “other” Bryant.
According to veteran Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Kobe Bryant was “two separate persons.”
After an injury during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 12, 2004, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, athletic trainer Gary Vitti chats with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. | Getty Images/Lisa Blumenfeld
Gary Vitti was the Lakers’ trainer for 32 years. He was a member of eight NBA championships and got to see greats like Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar up close. Vitti, on the other hand, formed a deep relationship with Bryant, who joined the Lakers as a teenager and went on to become one of the best NBA players of all time.
On former Laker Byron Scott’s Off the Dribble podcast, Vitti claimed, “There were two separate persons.” “On the basketball court, the guy who the world saw was not Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba is what it’s called. That’s his other self: cruel, merciless, competitive, murderous, harsh…
“We could speak about a number of things that made him amazing.” I’ve always maintained he wasn’t the most physically gifted player, so how did he wind up with five rings when other players with greater skill had none?
“Then there’s this other person,” says the narrator. Kobe Bryant is his name. He’s a totally different person.”
Viti described how he lost his nasty and aggressive personality off the field.
“That Kobe Bryant didn’t exist once he came into the locker room, training room, weight room, or basketball court,” Vitti added.
When Vitti talks about Kobe Bryant’s ‘other’ side, he gets worked up.
When Vitti was asked about Bryant, who died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26, 2020, he became upset. He was 41 years old at the time.
Vitti said, “I become sentimental.” “I’m an emotional Italian.” It’s quite difficult for me to speak about this. The majority of my best recollections are unrelated to basketball.”
Vitti regained his composure and discussed the Kobe Bryant who was not in the limelight.
“If my girls came to practice, which they did on occasion when they were little,” Vitti added, “he would take one look at them and melt.” “My wife would bring our goddaughter to a game and bring her down to the bench during warmups before the game began. When he noticed her, he came to a halt and ran over to the sideline.
“The time he would spend as a Make-a-Wish youngster.” It’s never been like this before; I can’t wait to get out of here. Those aren’t simple tasks. He always made it seem simple. He wanted those individuals to know how much he cared about them, and he did.”
Vitti went so far as to laud Bryant against his own preferences.
“I don’t enjoy utilizing combat analogies, such the words “fight,” “foxhole,” or “war,” or calling a game a war,” he remarked. “There are genuinely men who have fought in wars. It isn’t the same at all. For the moment, if I was in a foxhole and looked to my left and saw him, and I glanced to my right and saw you, I knew I was going to be OK. “He was the one.”
Vitti witnessed the real Kobe Bryant when his father died.
During their time with the Lakers, Vitti and Bryant became close. They had their fights and squabbles, but they grew to be good friends.
When Bryant hurt his thumb in a game, Vitti saw a unique transformation from the Black Mamba to Kobe Bryant while still on the floor.
According to Fox Sports, Vitti insisted on looking at Bryant’s thumb, but Kobe declined, saying, “Just tape it.” Vitti defied Bryant and refused to tape it until he had studied it. Bryant became more enraged until Vitti delved deep and eventually reached the Black Mamba.
“It’s me,” Vitti said to Bryant, who eventually gave in and allowed him examine the thumb.
When Vitti’s father died, he realized he had found a genuine friend in Bryant.
Vitti recounted to Scott, “He phoned me, and you could tell he sort of sensed my grief.” “He left me this message, and if people could hear it, they’d know the difference between Kobe Bryant and the Black Mamba,” he said.
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