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Lakers’ physical therapist: Kobe Bryant has highest pain tolerance I’ve ever seen

Aug 28, 2014, 1:55 PM EST

Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

Lakers head physical therapist Judy Seto has worked with the Lakers for more than 20 years. Plus, she has experience outside basketball.

So, Seto has seen a lot.

And Kobe Bryant stands apart.

Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated:

Kobe’s remarkable pain threshold

“It’s the highest that I’ve ever seen.  He channels his focus so well in terms of just the task at hand. But also when he’s had pain, he can block that out.

“I think that trait makes him who he is, and his ability to focus also allows him to channel his energies. It’s not that he doesn’t feel pain; it’s how he responds. Everybody responds to pain a little differently. There’s some people that if you have an injury, you perseverate on it, an injury here can manifest to an injury over here or somewhere else in your body. It can be extremely debilitating. That’s the other stream.

Usually Seto measures a patient’s pain on a scale of 1-10. But with Bryant, “I don’t even ask him.  He just looks at me. ‘Why are you even asking me this? What’s the point?’

“So there’s no point in asking him, ‘How bad is your pain?’ He would just go, ‘Why are you asking me about my pain? Just take care of whatever the problem is and let me get back to what I need to do, or I can’t do it, so tell me I can’t, then we’ll deal with it.’

“It’s kind of like useless.  I mean, I’ll have to ask him, ‘Does it hurt?’ I have an obligation to ask. But I don’t think I’ve asked on a scale of zero to ten how much it hurts because it doesn’t matter for him.”

As an example, Seto cited Kobe making the free throws after tearing his Achilles.

No doubt, Kobe is unlike other players. His mental capabilities are unmatched, and that apparently includes his ability to handle pain.

But ignoring pain gets a player only so far, especially a 36-year-old. I believe Kobe will get the most possible from his body, but aging remains undefeated. Even if Kobe can withstand more than anyone else, he can’t move as well as he once could. His injuries will still limit him.

Kobe is extremely well-prepared for the injury-related challenges that await him this season, and his pain tolerance helps. But that goes only so far.

  1. teabone13 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    love him or hate him, he’s on a different level.

    can’t wait for the season to begin.

    • duhwighthoward - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

      Actually Paul Pierce is better.

      • urodaddy07 - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:46 PM

        what?!!!

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:29 PM

        That’s the troll-iest comment I may have ever seen on here.

        Eh, eff it…+1

        For your efforts.

      • spthegr8 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        @Malt
        I Agree. I knew he was a Troll but, that comment was just Blasphemous. Took trolling too a different level! Anti is somewhere tipping his cap!!

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        Ok, so what is Kobe better at than Pierce? Free throws? End of story.

      • mytthor - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Everything except hamming up his injuries a la the wheelchair game.

      • mytthor - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Answering seriously, I’d say shot selection. That’s all Paul Pierce is better at on the court that I can think of. And Pierce isn’t exactly a 3’s and layups guy, he’s a hero ball guy like Kobe. They’re both Hall of Famers. But Kobe is either the 2nd or 3rd best shooting guard of all time (depending on how you feel about Jerry West).

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        PIERCE HAS A HIGHER TOLERANCE FOR PAIN THAN KOBE. THAT’S WHY HE CAME BACK FROM INJURY TO WIN THE FINALS FOR THE CELTICS… AGAINST KOBE BRYANT!

        KOBE SHOT A FREE THROW WHEN HE WAS INJURED. THAT’S ALL PLAYERS DO WHEN THEY’RE INJURED. SOME DEMONSTRATION OF THRESHOLD FOR PAIN!

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        KOBE BRYANT SCORES A COUPLE MORE POINTS PER GAME THAN PAUL PIERCE. BUT HE DOES IT AT THE EXPENSE OF HIS TEAM. HE IS A BALLHOG.

        PAUL PIERCE IS A TEAM PLAYER. HE’S ALSO BETTER THAN KOBE AT EVERY ASPECT OF THE GAME. HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED KOBE POST UP? HE TRAVELS EVERY TIME BY LIFTING THE PIVOT FOOT. PIERCE IS FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND.

        PAUL PIERCE IS NOT JUST AN OFFENSIVE PLAYER LIKE KOBE. PIERCE PLAYS DEFENSE. WHO GUARDS LEBRON EVERY YEAR IN THE PLAYOFFS? PIERCE, THAT’S WHO. DON’T TELL ME ABOUT HOW KOBE GUARDED LEBRON IN THE ALL-STAR GAME. 1, THAT WAS THE ALL-STAR GAME AND 2, KOBE FOULED HIM THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE COURT.

        KOBE IS SUCH A BAD DEFENDER THAT THEY ACTUALLY TAKE HIM OFF OF THE OTHER TEAM’S SHOOTING GUARD IF HE’S A GOOD PLAYER SO THAT KOBE CAN “SAVE HIS ENERGY FOR OFFENSE.” PAUL PIERCE IS A BETTER CONDITIONED ATHLETE AND DOESN’T NEED TIME TO REST ON DEFENSE. HE’S ALSO NOT AFRAID TO GUARD THE OTHER TEAM’S BEST PLAYER. THAT’S WHY HE STICKS LEBRON.

        MEANWHILE KOBE BRYANT WAS AFRAID TO GUARD STEVE NASH THOSE YEARS THE SUNS BEAT THE LAKERS IN THE PLAYOFFS. INSTEAD HE TOOK RAJA BELL, A GUY WHO JUST STANDS IN THE CORNER AND DOES NOTHING ELSE.

        PAUL PIERCE ISN’T A CHOKE EITHER. HOWEVER KOBE IS THE MOST LEGENDARY CHOKER OF ALL-TIME. CONSIDER WHEN HE AIRBALLED THREE CONSECUTIVE THREE-POINTERS IN CRUNCH-TIME TO LOSE TO THE JAZZ IN 1997. ALSO, THE 2004 FINALS WHERE KOBE SINGLE-HANDEDLY SHOT THE LAKERS DOWN. DON’T FORGET THE 2008 FINALS, WHEN THERE WERE NO BAD PLAYERS FOR KOBE TO GUARD AND PAUL PIERCE HIMSELF ANNIHILATED KOBE AND WON THE FINALS MVP. THEN IN 2010, THE LAKERS ESCAPED WITH A GAME 7 VICTORY ONLY BECAUSE WHILE KOBE WAS CHOKING AND MISSING EVERY SHOT, RON ARTEST WAS ABLE TO GRAB A KOBE AIRBALL AND SCORE THE WINNING BUCKET.

      • mytthor - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        You’re literally insane. I won’t be replying to you anymore, except to say seek mental help.

  2. proxysays - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Illuminati can’t feel pain

  3. antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Except when it comes to shin splints.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      or guilt…

      as in $4 million reasons

      • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        That’s right… he was crying wasn’t he? Can’t tolerate the emotional pain.

    • musician0785 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      How is that every Kobe article, outta the first 5 ppl to comment, its usually you 2 trolls. For 2 ppl who claim not to like the man, or his game, you sure spend a lot of your time talking about him.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        It’s called #mambablood, musician. Take no prisoners. You love when Kobe does it, so you should be a big fan of us.

      • musician0785 - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        except I have no clue who you are, and you are much, much, much, much less accomplished. much, much, much less wealthy and you know….a troll….but other than that yea its pretty much the same……

      • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Ah haha, that’s when you know you lost an argument, when you find yourself having to say, “well you don’t make as much money, so there! hmph.”

        Don’t be a hypocrite now, music. You love a self-professed a-hole. You have no grounds to complain.

      • billtetley53 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        Arent you dehydrated yet from all of you crying?
        Jesus, that is all you do!

        Your boyfriend must have a high tolerance for whining.

      • ocgunslinger - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        Spot on Musician….

    • themars211 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Just woke up in your moms basement ready to start your day Anti?? lol

      • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Why would I be in my mom’s basement? You don’t want to see me or where I live, guy – it would make you feel worse about yourself.

      • billtetley53 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        Thats a kb2408 type post. You may want to quit posting, that isnt anyone you want to be compared too.

      • bhunter1995 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        Put your money where your mouth is Anti, go on that LBJ fan fiction blog you like to update and throw a MTV cribs style home tour complete with some Antistratfordian signs and maybe a personal picture so we can see your ugly mug, if you’re going to say that you are superior to others you should bring the evidence cus.

  4. ravenswhat - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Because he thinks that’s how MJ would handle it. This guy is OBSESSED with being MJ.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      It’s common with players from his generation. That’s why he is the way he is – he focused on the one thing MJ got the most credit for (scoring) and, as all the MJ wannabes have done, he tried to double down on that. But unfortunately it only made him a worse player.

      That’s the great thing about LeBron – and the unique thing with LeBron – because he also idolized MJ, and he is also primarily inspired by MJ’s scoring side, but he was somehow able to do that while staying complete and team oriented. So LeBron is fortunate now to be able to switch on his MJ wannabe-ism only when he wants it or needs it, rather than having it dominate him completely like it does for Kobe.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        It’s not completely unique to LBJ. D.Wade is also like that. But it’s rare for guys who loved MJ so much to be such great pa.ssers.

      • zoomy123 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Every all-time great player had their own unique identity except…Kobe. He’s an overrated MJ wannabe. Could never be as good or as efficient a scorer, p.a.s.s.e.r, rebounder, defender, or be as clutch. And was extremely selfish to boot.

      • dablakdrphil - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        I find it funny that Kobe is overrated and yet he’s in the top 5 scoring of ALL TIME!! The man has won two rings since Shaq left and a total of 5. It’s one thing to not like a player for whatever reason it may be but to type out false information makes people like yall HATERS

      • antistratfordian - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:43 PM

        Play long enough as a chucker and you’ll get there. MJ got to a higher level in less years.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      What does that make MJ considering he admittedly ripped off David Thompson’s game?

      • billtetley53 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        Care to post proof of that? Of course not, you cant.

      • musician0785 - Sep 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        “I’ve had a lot of questions over the last four weeks, and everybody’s saying well ‘why’d you pick David Thompson?’ I know why, and David knows why, and maybe you guys don’t know why, but as I grew up in North Carolina, I was 11 years old in 1974 I think when you guys won the championship. And I was an anti-Carolina guy – I hated UNC, and here I ended up at UNC. But I was in love with David Thompson. Not just for the game of basketball, but in terms of what he represented. You know, we all – as Vivian said – we go through our trials and tribulations. And, he did. And I was inspired by him. And when I called him and asked him to uh, stand up for me.”

        Michael Jordan’s opening paragraph of his induction speech…..

  5. naterich21 - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Honorable mention to Rondo: tore ACL and played out rest of 4th quarter and overtime

    Dislocated elbow came back to win a playoff game

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      Rondo is one tough SOB. He plays super scrappy too. Respect from this Lakers fan.

  6. money2long - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    You guys ever notice how some people try to distract from the story to talk about unrelated stuff in the article so people can not talk about what the article was about ? Their prime objective is to sabotage. I find it sorta like an indirect admission they truly believe in the man’s greatness.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      Has there ever been this great of an NBA legend, more hated on then Kobe Bryant in the history of the game? It’s actually pretty amazing, as much as it is befuddling.

      • billtetley53 - Aug 29, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Yeah, there has. Its Wilt Chamberlain. He doent get nearly the credit he deserves for what he did. Everyone hated him when he was dominating. Of course, people back then just hated him for being a strong black man. People hate Kobe today because hes a narcissistic ahole.
        One that likes to force himself on women in hotel rooms.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        Really? Because people speak glowingly about him now. I have yet to hear a negative thing about Wilt. Maybe time will change things and people down the line will only speak of the greatness that was Kobe on the basketball court and not something completely unrelated like him cheating on his wife and the girl trying to get money out of the whole scenario, unfairly tarnishing his name in the process.

        Who knows? I wasn’t around to read about the press for Wilt but maybe that happens for Kobe over time.

      • billtetley53 - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        Again, read a book. A famous quote from Wilt himself is “Nobody loves Goliath”. Wlit dealt with the same crap Jim Brown did. He was a confident large black man in an era when white society really didnt like that. Even now, people disparge him because ” he and Russell were the only good big men back then”.(Which is an outright lie) Some tool on here actually said that Shaq would eat him alive, that Wilt wasnt athletic enough.

        Kobe is a narcissistic ahole. Youre actually going to defend him for cheatingvon his wife?! Jesus Malt, its just basketball, you waive your morals as long as your team wins?
        There is a reason that a lot of fans dont like kobe and its not because he is a laker or they are haters.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 29, 2014 at 8:36 PM

        Lol, good stuff!

        I might just take some time and look into that. Thanks.

        And onto Kobe….honestly, what Kobe OR ANY OTHER MAN does with/in his relationship with his wife is none of mine, or anyone else’s for that matters business.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 29, 2014 at 8:44 PM

        (Sorry, got cut off)

        …so what Kobe does with or to his wife infidelity-wise has nothing to do with me OR basketball. Honestly, from what I hear, almost every pro athlete cheats at some point on their spouses/girlfriends. Like I said, that’s none of my business to be concerned with or mad about. Whether he helps my team win or lose doesnt matter either. It could’ve been Steve Blake or Kwame Brown for all I care (former Lakers I couldn’t stand).

        Point is, getting mad at him for transgressions in his relationship in his personal life is a female’s way of thinking. I know you’re better then that bill. Honestly.

  7. bigdogarita - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    EEeeeeeeenough. Could you put this guy on any more of a pedestal?

    Let’s talk about my favorite player, a guy who stays out of the spotlight, is a team-first-player, has led his team to a title and won the MVP without making big waves.

    More articles on DIRK and guys kids can truly look up to and less on kobe the legend of legends who is known for being legendary at EVERYTHING……

    Pain threshold… my God.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      Kobe envy issues^

  8. nicofthenorthstar - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Lebron gets the cramps and uses his great leadership abilities to convince his teammates to carry him off the court .

  9. nicofthenorthstar - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Tim Duncan is the greatest player of his time. But of course, he’s a humble, low key kind of guy. Tough to sell a guy that isn’t intensely interested in selling himself.

  10. eugenesaxe1 - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    For what he’s getting paid, he better come out of the grave to play.

  11. divan22 - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    I believe it. When D-Wade broke Kobe’s nose in the All-Star Game I remember thinking, “Dude’s pretty nonchalant for someone who just broke his nose.”

    • duhwighthoward - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:25 AM

      Remember when Reggie Miller was choking him on the scorer’s table?

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