There have been a lot of great stories (both true and apocryphal) about Kobe Bryant‘s obsessive tendencies, several of which are revisited in Ramona Shelburne’s fantastic new piece for ESPN.com, “Mamba Out.” One of the strangest-slash-most-impressive dates back to a dark period in Byrant’s life and career, i.e. when his wife Vanessa decided to file for divorce in 2011.
Desperate to save his marriage, Bryant did what any man in his position would do: He taught himself how to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” by listening to it on endless repeat. No, really:
Taking lessons wasn’t enough. Anybody can do that. Kobe had to be exceptional. So he’d put headphones on, listen to “Moonlight Sonata” on loop, and try to figure out the music on the keyboard in front of him.
“If you just sit down and say, ‘I’m going to learn this thing until I do,’ ” he says, “there’s not really much out there that you can’t figure out eventually.”
He and Vanessa are still together, so apparently it worked? In terms of romantic gestures, it doesn’t get much grander (or more insane, depending on how you look at it), and it’s just another reminder that when it comes to Kobe’s competitive myopia, his real-life exploits are stranger than anything you could make up.
Or to be more accurate, they are precisely as strange as you would imagine. Just last month, a colleague put together an imaginary list of all the weird stuff Kobe probably does every day, and lo and behold, “Plays Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Piano Concerto No. 5, from memory” came in at number six. Okay, so he was a little off about the particular movement, but still. The lesson, as always, is don’t put anything past Kobe.