Kobe Bryant Reveals Competitive Fire, Unique Kindness in Untold Stories

LOS ANGELES — What's he really like?

That kind of question is the entire premise of the paparazzi and the springboard for all of reality television.   

We live in an era when we demand more inside information than ever about the rich and famous, yet someone who has been one of the world's most prominent figures for nearly two decades amid feuds, scandals, success and championships still seems something of a mystery.

Sometimes the smallest moments in time can be the most revealing.

With Kobe Bryant's 19th Los Angeles Lakers training camp about a month away, here are 19 little-known slices of Bryant's NBA life to convey how the man matches up with the mythical machine—and how he so totally does not...


Gary Vitti, the Los Angeles Lakers' athletic trainer for 30 years, has been with Bryant the whole way. And what Vitti remembers most from the night Bryant tore his Achilles in April of 2013 is something mental, not physical.

After Bryant tries to pull the ruptured tendon back up as if it were just some loose sock, focuses enough to sink the free throws and makes the long walk under his own power offstage to the privacy of the nearly empty locker room, the frustration and confusion need an outlet.

Bryant starts throwing things around the room. Vitti diagnoses something even more shocking.

"I see for the first time an element of doubt in Kobe's eyes," Vitti recalled. "It didn't last long."

That's because Bryant's wife, Vanessa, has brought their daughters into the room. Natalia and Gianna are concerned—and Kobe prides himself on the example he sets for them.

He blitzes through the remaining stages of grief, not wanting them to grieve. He hugs them and comforts them.

And he asks in a tone of business as usual, not fear or despair, for his daughters to hear: "What do I ha...

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