This has not been a good year for a variety of reasons, with the COVID-19 pandemic at the top of the list. But even before the Coronavirus became as widespread as it did starting in February and March, 2020 got off to a tragic start for sports fans on January 26 when Kobe Bryant tragically died with his daughter and others in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles.
Even though he’s gone, Bryant certainly isn’t forgotten in the NBA or elsewhere. In fact, a piece of technology that Bryant used during his playing days is now becoming commonplace in the league that he was a big part of for nearly two decades.
Kobe Bryant’s competitive advantages
Bryant won five NBA titles with the Lakers, thanks in part to his desire to win. He would use any competitive advantage that he could get to play to the best of his abilities and help the Lakers win as many games as they could.
According to Heavy, Bryant’s father, Joe, believes his son had a competitive advantage from his genes, being the son of a former NBA player. As a kid, Bryant was able to be around professionals and go places other kids couldn’t, giving him an advantage that he would exploit as he got older and played basketball in high school and eventually for the Lakers.
An early adopter of massage guns
Bryant was an early adopter of using massage guns, as ESPN tells us. In 2007, he met with high school teacher Anthony Katz, who presented the Lakers star with a rough design for leg wraps that would help players ice their knees more efficiently.
They would continue to work together developing items that would help players heal their bodies when needed. One product that emerged from the unlikely partnership was a massage gun, which helps players to treat their muscles while they’re resting on the bench during a game. Katz developed it after consulting with players and trainers regarding how they could improve their recovery after workouts and games.
Katz gave Bryant one of the early designs, and he became hooked on it. He saw it as giving him an advantage, so he wanted to keep the then-new to himself and not give it to other players. There was an exception to that; he gave it to basketball-loving daughter Gigi, who ended up using the massage gun more than her father did after he retired from the league.
The NBA strikes a deal for massage guns
Kobe Bryant might have wanted to keep the massage gun a secret when he was playing, but the secret is now out. Earlier this year, the NBA announced a partnership with Katz’s company, Hyperice, to supply the league’s players with the Hypervolt Pro, a newer version of the massage fun that Bryant liked so much.
Players will be using the Hypervolt Pro pretty much anywhere they go, from arenas and training facilities to airplanes and hotel rooms — and it is a luxury that they will certainly enjoy.
Bryant’s not the only one seeing players using Hyperice products, as players are using them on the bench during playoff games — including Luka Doncic, who used a massage gun on his ankle while sitting on the bench during the Mavericks’ overtime win over the Clippers.