It should come as no surprise that Kobe Bryant has a unique shooting routine before games. He’s has always had unique workout strategies. Why should his pregame warmup be any different?
Normally, players take the floor 60-to-150 minutes before game time to work out and shoot around. They’ll play out some kinks in their fundamentals with a coach. They’ll run the same drills they always do before games. They’ll practice game shots at a practice pace — though a few will work out for shorter at an actual game pace. Some will just shoot around for the sake of shooting around.
Bryant, as one would expect, has eschewed that normal protocol during his career. According to Baxter Holmes’ ESPN feature on Bryant’s pregame shooting routine, the Lakers great makes sure to get onto the court four hours before game time.
Bryant will typically begin beneath the rim, making 15 to 20 shots with each hand just to get loose, to gain a rhythm and a feel for the ball going through the net.
He’ll then move to midrange and shoot from about 15 feet along each baseline, at each wing, at the free-throw line area, making 15-20 shots at each spot.
He’ll then sink some free throws, though there’s no limit there.
Then, Bryant will move beyond the arc, shooting 3-pointers from each corner, each wing and the top of the key, making between 10 and 20 shots at each spot.
Bryant will then move back inside the arc, shoot more free throws and begin working closer to the basket.
Bryant isn’t done at that point, either. As Holmes puts it, after that, he “works on a wide array of shots.”
But this isn’t about the number of shots Kobe is putting up. He’s not working out for three hours before tipoff. And plenty of players have intense workout routines before games. People love getting into the arena to see Stephen Curry or Bryant — because of their names and majesty — but if you really want to see an intense pregame workout, get into the building early and take a peak at J.J. Redick’s game-speed pregame routine next time the Clippers are in town.
He runs himself off screens. He’s darting about as quickly as you’ll see anyone move directly before playing an NBA game.
There are other intense workout routines. But this is about style, one that is totally unique to Bryant, just like seemingly everything else he does.