It’s an emotional day around the NBA and the basketball world in general, as Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others. Friends, fans, family, and peers have come together to pay tribute to the Lakers legend who is gone far too soon.
Beloved and admired among his contemporaries, Kobe has also influenced an entire generation of up-and-coming basketball players, as numerous stars around the league have, on various occasions, talked about the ways they’ve modeled their game after one of the most unique talents in NBA history.
Kobe’s leap from high school to the NBA was still something of a rarity at the time, but those who were lucky enough to witness him put his enormous talents on display in the lead-up to the 1996 NBA Draft were left in awe by what they saw. Now, a brief but compelling piece of video evidence has finally emerged showing Kobe doing the Mikan drill.
On first glance, it might not look that impressive. But the rigorous physical demands required to jump that high and that quickly for a solid minute is much harder than seems on the surface and speaks directly to both his otherworldly athleticism at such a young age and, perhaps more important, his competitive nature.
Just ask Rex Kalamian, the Clippers video coordinator at the time, who called it “probably the most athletic Mikan drill you’re ever going to see,” via the LA Times. Kalamian had the wherewithal to preserve a good chunk of the VHS tape of Kobe’s workout instead of recording over it, as was standard practice.
There is apparently more than an hour of footage remaining that has yet to be released, and we can only hope we’ll eventually get to see more of it, as we continue to honor Kobe’s memory in whatever way we can.