Kobe Bryant is known for one thing above all else - a winning mentality and determination the likes of which has rarely been seen in professional sport.
Or so we thought.
Journey over the destination
The Lakers legend, speaking on his recent tour to China as part of his Nike endorsement contract, had a surprising revelation for those listening in. Kobe Bryant apparently is not motivated by winning titles after all:
"Now here I am with five championships, what the public measures what success is...and that's ok but that doesn't drive me," explained Kobe Bryant to a group of young basketball enthusiasts in Shanghai.
"What drives me is continuing to learn which is why I'm still sitting here after 18 years determined to come back next year with a vengeance. It's because of how I define success not how everybody else does.
"It's never about the destination it's always about the journey. The success to me is the adventure."
The revelation will be hard for many to accept however having watched Kobe Bryant move heaven and Earth during his career in a bid to help the Lakers reach the summit of the NBA.
And what with Kobe's incredible success in achieving that goal, not to mention the amount of feathers he has ruffled (amongst opponents and teammates) on the way to the top it it certainly surprising to hear Bryant make such a statement.
Kobe Bryant's more reflective mood however may have been brought about by a couple of factors.
For one, at 35 years of age Bryant is aware that he has probably achieved all he is going to in the NBA, with the Black Mamba no longer at the height of his powers following a couple of major injury set backs in recent times.
Secondly Kobe is returning to a Los Angeles roster that is about as far away from challenging for an NBA title as it has ever been since his arrival way back in 1996.
After a dismal 2013-14 campaign beset by injuries and coaching criticism the Lakers have brought in former Showtime star Byron Scott to help turn the franchise around.
Kobe will be an integral part in kickstarting that transition process no doubt, but he certainly won't be there to see if it can bear fruition in a few seasons times.
With that in mind it is not surprising to hear Kobe Bryant attempt to shift attention away from a win-at-all-costs attitude which had seemed to prevail in years gone past.
Mark our words though, when tip off comes in game one of the regular-season this fall there won't be many players in the NBA wanting to leave the court with a W more than Kobe Bryant.
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