words & images // NIck DePaula
When Kobe Bryant took the floor this morning for Team USA's on-going prep work on the road to London, he was noticeably aggressive and focused. Even though he's the elder statesman of the team, he's clearly not ready yet to pass the torch to the league's next generation of stars. It immediately reminded me of the dynamic that made Monte Carlo practices so legendary and competitive for Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. "The 80's are over," Jordan would often remind him. "It's the 90's now."
As far as Kobe is concerned, he doesn't seem to be ready to hand over the reigns any time soon. It's not 1996 anymore -- it's not even the 2000s anymore -- and yet he still didn't want to let up for even a second against the future of the game.
That ruthless competitiveness was on full display during Team USA's "Hoops For Troops" private practice, as he and Russell Westbrook enjoyed going at eachother's throats the whole time. Kobe was looking to attack anyone in sight during the first half, sticking to a controlled array of pull-up jumpers in the key and face up mid-range shots along the wing.
Check out Kobe in action below, as he continues to do work in the Zoom Kobe VII.