Some athletes have interesting methods of pushing themselves to be their best. For basketball star Kobe Bryant, it involved listening to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” every day for two years. But it wasn’t because he liked the song’s optimistic message, but rather because it reminded him of one of his toughest defeats.

In 2008, his Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, losing 131-92 in the decisive Game Six in Boston. After a 94-84 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, he recalled how hearing Journey’s anthem during that game became his motivation.

“It was a tough two years in between,” Bryant said in the video above (via CBS Sports). “I remember when we were losing, they played that song, that Journey song, and the whole arena started singing that song, and I hated that damn song for two years. Seriously, man. But I listened to the song every single day because it just reminded me of that feeling.”

Two years later, the Lakers and the Celtics met again in the Finals, but with the Lakers prevailing in seven games. Bryant was named the MVP of the series, averaging 28.6 points per game. Another song played at Boston’s TD Garden, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys, served the same purpose as “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

“Same thing with the Dropkick Murphys,” Bryant added. “Like, I’m listening to the Dropkick Murphys all the time just because I wanted to remember that feeling, you know what I mean? To go back in 2010 and have that redemption — I was telling [Lakers forward] Metta [World Peace] on the bench when [former Celtics and current Clippers forward] Paul Pierce was running back down, ‘You know, Metta, I’m so damn happy we won that 2010 Finals. I’d be sick as s— sitting here right now.’ And he felt the same way.”

The 37-year-old Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and 17-time All-Star, is retiring at the end of this season. As of this writing, the Lakers are 5-25 and Bryant is considered to be one of the major reasons for their poor performance. He is averaging 30.5 minutes per game despite only shooting 34.5 percent from the field. Last month, the sure-fire Hall of Famer declared himself to be “the 200th-best player in the league right now. I freaking suck.”

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