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On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kobe Bryant talked about taking tap lessons to improve his game. In his new book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, Kobe writes that during the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers, he suffered the worst sprained ankle of his career, causing him to miss the next game — something Kobe did not take lightly. The Lakers went on to win the championship, but Kobe still felt the need to take up tap in the off season to strengthen his ankles. But getting started wasn’t easy.
“Do they make tap shoes in your size?” Kimmel asked. “Had to get ‘em made,” Kobe said. “I couldn’t just go to the store and be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take those size 14s, tap.’”
Athletes taking dance lessons is nothing new. NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann famously learned multiple dancing styles including tap, ballet, and jazz. Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins learned how to Irish dance, something he showed off after scoring a touchdown in 2017. But from the sound of it, Kobe’s entry was a bit more awkward than theirs.
“My first day of class … I walked into the studios and there’s all these 6- and 7-year-old kids.” Kobe said. “Straight up, man. Studio in Santa Monica, these kids are looking at me like, ‘What in the world? What’s this grown-ass man doin’ here learning tap dance?’”
Watch Kobe Bryant surprise an epileptic 6-year-old fan:
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