Kobe Bryant shoots around postgame
MIAMI -- As the clock ticked toward midnight Thursday evening, long after players from both teams had filed out of American Airlines Arena following the Miami Heat's 94-88 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant emerged from the visitors locker room and headed back to the court.
It was time for Kobe doin' work, after doin' work.
"I just wanted to work on some things," Bryant told a pack of reporters who waited and watched his nearly hourlong workout. "I just wanted to work on my game."
In a surreal scene that encapsulated Bryant's reputation as being wholly dedicated to the game, Bryant completed a series of extensive shooting drills, working in shots off the dribble along with catch-and-shoot 3-pointers and free throws.
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During a road trip, the Lakers usually fly to the next city in which they're playing immediately following a game, but their itinerary happened to plan on spending the night in Miami before flying to Dallas on Friday in this instance.
"We got a game on Saturday [against the Mavericks], and I won't be able to get a good work in [on Friday]," Bryant said. "So, it's good to get one in tonight, get some rest, have a good day of travel tomorrow and be ready on Saturday."
Bryant said he has gone through a similar workout following a game in a road arena "a couple of times" in his 15-year career. The last time he could recall doing it was during the Lakers' first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets in 2004.
Bryant started the game against the Heat 5-of-6 from the floor before finishing the game with an 8-for-21 shooting line that included misses on his final three attempts.
"There were a couple of my shots, my pet shots, that I didn't feel comfortable with, so I had to get back out and work on them," Bryant said. "It's my job. I got to work at it. This is what you're supposed to do. If you're uncomfortable about something and feel like you can tweak some things, you got to work on them. It doesn't matter when you work on them. You got to get it done. You got to figure it out."
Out there on the court with Bryant the whole time were three Miami team attendants serving as ball boys, including Parron Outing, 31, who has worked for the Heat for 19 years.
Outing met Bryant at the arena at 3:45 p.m. ET in advance of the 7 p.m. game to go through the same shooting routine the Lakers guard completed postgame.
"He told me after the game, he said, 'Foots, go get me two balls. We're going back out there on the court,'" said Outing, an active-duty staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who goes by the nickname "Foots" because of the size 16 sneakers he wears. "I went back, got the balls and got back out here and started going through our routine that we did."
Outing, who received some notoriety at the beginning of the season when he suggested the Heat should have their training camp at Hurlburt Field Air Force base, said he and Bryant chatted about music in between shots.
"This is always something to remember," Outing said. "This is an experience that you'll always cherish. It's all about honor, and it was another good time. I was willing to do it, to go that extra mile. He wanted to stay after and shoot some, and I was right there waiting on him, so it's all about dedication even when you're not even on the court."
Bryant said the extra work was "not a big deal" to him and that he has basketball courts near his home in Orange County, Calif., that he sometimes goes to after home games.
He had no problem sacrificing a night out in South Beach for a night in the gym, either.
"It will be much more enjoyable coming back to Miami in the summer time if we win another [championship]," Bryant said.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.