Kobe Bryant rails against load management: ‘What the hell is that?’
Kobe Bryant has a decidedly old-school opinion of how load management has become the newest go-to philosophy for many NBA organizations, essentially arguing that it’s disrespectful to the league’s fans. Not only that, Bryant believes the load management mantra can portray a player in an unflattering light.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend recently had a sit-down interview with Patrick Bet-David at the 10th annual PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas. Among the topics addressed were how teams now routinely sit players — including the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, among others — throughout the season under the auspices of load management.
Bryant made it abundantly clear he would have never yielded to the Lakers had the team ever floated the notion that he should sit out a game to rest, nor does he think it should be done in today’s game.
“What the hell is that?” Bryant said, referring to load management. “I don’t know what that is. That’s crazy.
“You’e got a lot of people paying their hard-earned money to watch you perform,” the Lakers legend added, as transcribed by Clutch Points. “It’s your job to be in shape. It’s your job to perform at that level every single night. And as a competitor, I’m not duckin’ s–t. Like, it’s not, ‘Oh, my back hurts. I’m sore. We gotta play Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors tonight.’“
Bryant went on to relay a story about a 2000 game against Carter’s Raptors when he was experiencing spasms in his “jacked” back. He played through it because he wanted to avoid the perception he was “duckin'” Carter.
“So I would be in the layup line like, ‘Okay, there are a lot of days when you can rest and recover,” Bryant said. “Today ain’t one of them. He’s gonna have to see me today.”
Despite Bryant’s negative opinion of it, the use of load management by NBA teams is not going away anytime soon. It’s probably a good thing the Black Mamba retired before the practice established such a firm foothold in the league.