Please watch the trailer for Tennis Honors: Kobe Bryant above. The full version will be released on February 15, during the Australian Open.
Why do we love a sport that asks us to hit great shots over and over, with no guarantee that we actually win the point?
Because, as Kobe Bryant has said, the reverse is also true.
Wait, Kobe Bryant? The basketball savant who won five NBA titles, made 18 All-Star teams and drew comparisons to Michael Jordan? The man whose trash-talking was as legendary as his scoring touch?
He also loved a sport where politeness was paramount?
Yes. Because, as Kobe said, you have to have conversations with yourself. And those talks can be pretty rough, too.
Kobe was a superstar in his sport. But on a different court, he was like a weekend warrior at the golf course: he loved the sound of hitting a good shot, no matter many poor ones he had hit before.
In hoops, Kobe handled a large, brown sphere, wanting it to graze nothing but net. In tennis, he hit a small, yellow sphere with the intent of hitting no net at all. In both cases, he used his hands to place a ball exactly where he wanted it.
Kobe caught the tennis bug after a hitting session with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. His one-hander wasn’t exactly Federer-esque. His topspin generation didn’t threaten Rafa. But when Kobe took to the tennis court, there was an unmistakable joy in the simplest parts of the game—bouncing the ball on his racquet; completing a drill; finishing a stroke.
There was plenty of intensity, too.
Jordan’s obsession with golf is part of his enduring appeal. Could Kobe have done the same with tennis? In many ways, he already has.