On Wednesday evening, April 13th Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in the final game of his illustrious 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.  It was a fitting end for the five-time NBA champion and future Hall of Famer.

Prior to the game ESPN writer Baxter Holmes examined Bryant’s fanatical workout habits  You can read his full article by clicking here.  As I read about Bryant’s preparation and approach to his career, I gleaned the following 10 Prices Superstars Are Willing To Pay Others Are Not:

  1. Superstars Always Arrive Early – Bryant arrives to the arena four hours before tipoff to work on his craft.
  2. Superstars Do The Lonely Work – They work hard alone.  They work hard when no one is looking.  Only ushers and a few others are in the arena four hours before the game.  Bryant says, “It’s very peaceful. It’s very quiet, and you get a chance to be in your space and in your element and hear the ball bounce, hear the sound of the net or the rim.”
  3. Superstars’ Preparation Allows Them To Start Fast – Because Bryant starts preparing so early, he starts fast in games.  Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson says, “When the game starts, [in] some games and in a lot of games, he never misses, so a player is confused like, ‘He just came to the game and he’s on fire.'”
  4. Superstars Do Not Waste Time – Watson continues, “Everything he does, he does with purpose.”
  5. Superstars Relentlessly Focus On The Fundamentals – Holmes writes, “Bryant will typically begin beneath the rim, making 15 to 20 shots with each hand just to get loose, to gain a rhythm and a feel for the ball going through the net.  He’ll then move to midrange and shoot from about 15 feet along each baseline, at each wing, at the free-throw line area, making 15-20 shots at each spot.  He’ll then sink some free throws, though there’s no limit there.”
  6. Superstars Work From The Inside Out – Bryant starts his hundreds of shots from under the basket.  He then moves out to mid-range shots and then beyond the 3-point arc.  After hitting his required numbers of 3-pointers he moves back to mid-range and then under the basket.  I found this interesting as the most successful leaders primarily focus on what is inside them like character and integrity, not just what people see.
  7. Superstars Put In Their 10,000 Hours Of Preparation – Author Malcolm Gladwell made the concept of 10,000 hours famous in his incredible book Outliers.  He noted the must successful individuals have practiced the craft for over 10,000 hours before reaching superstar status.  After making his required number of pre-game shots, Bryant begins working on how the shots are made.  Lakers assistant coach J.J. Outlaw said, “The same moves that we see him do within the game, I can’t tell you how many times he’s practiced that exact same move — pump-fake, jab, pump-fake, jab, cross-over, one-dribble pull-up — in the last five years. It’s been thousands of times.”
  8. Superstars Eliminate Distractions – One of the many reasons Bryant arrives so early is to eliminate distractions.  Outlaw points out, “If he’s coming out to shoot, he’s the only one on the floor.  He’s out there early enough where there’s no interference with basketballs. There’s no media issues or anything.”
  9. Superstars Maximize Their Margins – Bryant keeps the aforementioned routine even on off days.  In fact, rather than “shutting it down”, he increases his efforts.  For instance, instead of making 500 jump shots on game days, he increases it to 1,000 on off days.
  10. Superstars Find Peace In Hard Work And Preparation – There is a lot of chaos in a successful person’s life.  Peacefulness is often found in a leader’s preparation.  Bryant concludes, “The peacefulness of an empty arena that size is beautiful.  It’s a very serene experience when you’re in there and there’s no crowd and there’s only ushers.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.”

Arrive Early, Do The Lonely Work, Start Fast, Do Not Waste Time, Focus On The Fundamentals, Work On Your Character And Integrity, Get In Your 10,000 Hours, Eliminate Distractions, Maximize Your Margins, and then Find Peace.

If you do these 10 things, you too may one day be a superstar in your profession.

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