Kobe Bryant on perfection
The Lakers G explains how he defines the word in basketball and in life
What does perfection look like to me? Championship rings.
Beyond that, I just try to perform as flawlessly as I can. It sounds weird, but I've never felt like there was anything that was hard for me to master. I've been playing since I was 2, so dribbling with both hands, shooting, footwork -- it's always felt natural. If I saw a pivot move that Hakeem Olajuwon used, I could go into the gym the next day and incorporate it into my game.
I don't think I've ever been close to perfect in a game. I scored 81 points once, but I blew a few defensive assignments, committed a few bad fouls and missed a couple of rebounds.
My pursuit of perfection now has to do with leadership -- keeping us moving in the right direction, with purpose. Guys come back every year with new things they've added to their game -- or we've added new guys to the team -- and leadership is managing all that, searching to find the right rhythm of playing for everybody. I really like where we are right now on that front. It's been seamless working in Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, because we knew how they play from years of playing against them. Everybody is pulling for each other, everybody is making sacrifices.
The perfect way to end my career would be to walk away with another championship. That's it, right there. Nothing could be better than that.
--As told to Ric Bucher
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ESPN The Magazine: December 13, 2010
Check out ESPN The Magazine's December 13, 2010 issue -- the Perfect Issue -- below.