There's no question that the NBA will never be the same without Kobe Bryant.
The career-long L.A. Laker has departed the game after 20 years of pounding the hardwood in only the way the Black Mamba knows how - full throttle.
During his retirement season, plenty of players exchanged gifts with Vino and have shared their fondest memories of one of the greatest to ever play the game.
The latest to offer some insight into the wonderful world of Kobe is Chris Bosh, of the Miami Heat.
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The forward has been on the sidelines since the All-Star break, but he took to his personal blog, ChrisBosh.com, today to share some of the fond memories he had with Bryant during the summer of 2008 when they won Olympic gold together as part of Team USA.
"On the first practice day with that team, I went down to get breakfast before we took the bus over to the gym," Bosh said. "There I was, thinking I was pretty early and feeling good about myself and Kobe's already there. He gets up, says hello and walks out to get ready for practice. The most interesting thing I noticed was that he had ice bags on his knees. I later found out that he'd already gotten his workout in and was pretty much waiting for our practice to start.
"Mind you, this was less than two weeks after the Lakers lost in the Finals to the Celtics, and there he was, working out and practicing like a maniac. He had every reason to rest up and just focus on being healthy for the Olympics. But every day in practice, he brought it."
Bryant is widely regarded as one of the most deidcated professional's in the history of the game, and that was part of the makeup that made him a five-time NBA champion and MVP winner.
His drive and competitive nature extended beyond the court, though, and Bosh's next story typifies how relentless Kobe was in every single thing he did.
"We went to the village to hang out a few times while the Olympic Games were going on, and I remember everybody walking through the arcade that they'd set up for the athletes," Bosh recalled. "There were a bunch of games, but in particular, they had those mini pop-a-shot basketball games that you can find in just about every arcade in the world. Kobe and Michael Redd started playing, and things got competitive. After a few games, I got tired of watching, so I left to meet up with some friends.
"I had to have been gone for a couple of hours. When it was almost time to head back to the hotel, I stopped by the arcade again and those guys were still playing! Both of them were in a full sweat with a focus like it was a real game. That was pretty funny to me because I'd always heard about how competitive Kobe was and in that moment, I got to witness it for myself."
Considering the two players never even played in the same conference, it goes to show just how much of a big character Kobe Bryant was in his prime and will in all likelihood, continue to be.
If this is just one summer's worth of tales form one perspective, a book of Kobe stories could do very well.
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