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The 100: If It Was Good Enough For Kobe....What is it? Why play it?

Editor's Note: I originally wrote this article with a brief reference to Kobe. In light of the recent passing of Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant, I decided to re-tool the article to include a quote that I found from an interview he did back in 2008...

The 100 game isn't a new thing that I came up with. One of my workout partners sent me an article about Kobe Bryant and his insane work ethic. When I heard of his passing many thoughts went through my head. The overriding theme I kept hearing was all about his work ethic. I decided that I want to remember him by looking back at an little known fact that most don't know about him...he used to play 1v1 games to 100 with his high school teammates. His work ethic was so intense that after a playoff loss he challenged his teammates to get to work on winning the championship the next season. He would find creative ways to push himself and his teammates to greatness. Here's a quote from an article in Sports Illustrated published in 2008:

"Bryant had already begun to coax teammates into staying late or coming in at odd hours so he could hone his skills. "We'd play games of one-on-one to 100," says Schwartz. "Sometimes he'd score 80 points before I got one basket. I think the best I ever did was to lose 100--12." Imagine the focus required to score 80 freakin' baskets before your opponent scores one. And Bryant's probably still pissed that Schwartz broke double digits."

When most people hear about playing 1v1 to 100 they tend to think it's crazy and impossible, almost insane to play until they actually play a game. What they find is that it's not only a great workout, but it's a new way to push themselves beyond what they think they can do. Check out one of the games in the video below.

When I read that Kobe played as a part of his training in his earlier days, I was not only surprised, but felt kinda good that my friends and I have been doing some training on his level for years. After I finally got over myself, I thought about why do we play this game. What is the attraction?

Sounds like sheer insanity to most, but there are some of us who have made it a regular part of our workout/playing regiment. Here's how it works;

Points are scored by 2's and 3's. The game can be broken up into quarters (first to 25,50,75,100) or halves (first to 50) or for the real competitors straight through to 100 (win by 4, yes there can be overtime if needed) Knowing this, you are probably scratching your head wondering why would anyone want to put themselves through something like this?

The simple answer is because we love the game and can't get enough. When two guys really get after it, these games can be done in 15-20 min. In our circle of friends, it's not uncommon for us to play best of three, or five or seven. The current record for number of games played in a session is held by myself and my friend Nate. We played six games that day, so I thought I'd ask him why and here's what he said:

Nate: "Good question I think first of all it's a high scoring game, so there's pride in being able to accomplish it. There is a constant competitiveness too, because it's a high scoring game there is always this thought that you can come back and win, play harder on defense, outwork your opponent. Maybe your not as skilled but you can have more heart and that when both players are at exhaustion then you can get that edge of heart over skill. One other thing is that it's a longer lasting game so you can get in a groove or enough time to get out of a funk and still be in the game."

Speaking of having heart and playing at the point of exhaustion, some of the best games happen when both players can really score some major buckets against relentless defense. One of my college ballers and I had a session just like that.

With Josh, It came down to the end where neither of us wanted to lose and we pushed it pretty hard. Big shot after big shot. At that point its a real endurance test as both scores went above 100. Here's what he had to say about it:

Josh: Honestly I think it's a good way to develop endurance because a game to 100 can take a lot out of you and I think it helps you with your competitive edge and tests your desire to win because it's just you versus one other person no one else to hold accountable but yourself

As a skills performance trainer, I use the game as a way to develop "game flow". You can do drills all you want but it's no good to you if you can't put it into practice in game situations. The 100 is the best simulation of a game where you have to be on the entire time your playing. It's too easy to get hot in a quick game to 11. You don't get to test your skills and endurance at the same time. Since its a longer more intense game you have to either rise up to the challenge and dig deeper or you get ran out of the gym.

Needless to say the game is a grind but one of the things that We love about it as a training tool is that both competitors are bringing out the best in each other and both are getting better with each play. There is a proverb in the Bible that says "As iron sharpens iron, so does one man to another"(Proverbs 27:17). At the root of competition is the idea that both sides are pushing each other to the limits thereby both competitors are getting better together. Here's what a former student who still comes home on breaks from college to grind out a few games had to say:

Sam: The challenge of 100 is a hefty battle because you take on a load when pushing for triple digits, this isn't a quick game to 11 this is a work load that you have to take on yourself and can't shy away from. 100 is a mountain you have to climb while someone else is racing you to the top. If you wanna make real progress and become a better climber you can't use the step machine at the gym you need to get up into those mountains and start hiking, works even better when there's someone next to you pushing each other to the top

The ability to go the distance is necessary for anyone to become a champion in sports or in life. In life you need to have the endurance, the pacing the mental toughness and competitiveness to make it through the battles that life will bring you. I believe that if you can develop these aspects you will become the kind of person that people and coaches will be able to count on.

Thrill of the competition. Test of will. Games to 11 are usually decided by talent or who's hot. Games to 100 are a battle of mental and physical stamina. My friends always hear me saying "he who has legs at the end wins!" If you and your friends are looking for a real challenge, give the 100 point game a try and see who has the legs to last!

Stay Forever Strong!



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