Hardest Working Players: NBA
"You always have to be on edge," Kobe Bryant once said. "You always have to take every practice, every game, like it is your last." Bryant is someone who practices what he preaches. While he has seemingly injured every part of his body during his 16-year career, the Lakers superstar never seems to let up. He has the championship rings to prove it, but still wants more.
It's no fluke that Kevin Garnett is 10th all time in minutes played in the NBA. Garnett is fiercely competitive and although his scoring and rebounding numbers have declined with age, he still averaged 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season.
It takes a lot of work to lead a team that everybody loves to hate. But that is exactly what James did last year, turning the Heat from a 2011 disappointment to a 2012 champion.
Few players have the non-stop energy of Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen. Allen averaged 1.8 steals per game each of the past two seasons and was named to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team in May.
Choosing between the big guy and the skinny guy in the 2007 draft, the Trail Blazers chose the big guy. While Greg Oden has been a bust, the No. 2 pick, Kevin Durant -- who entered the draft at 6-foot-10, 215 pounds -- has turned into one of the biggest stars in the league. He may still be lean (he's now 235 lbs.), but that has not stopped him from averaging 26.3 points over his career.
After spending his first two years in the NBA as a sixth man, Love's hard work paid off during the 2010-11 season, when he led the league in rebounding and scored 20.2 points per game. Last season he was even more dangerous, scoring 26 points per game.
It wasn't just his size that made Anthony Davis the obvious No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft -- it was also his work ethic. Although just a freshman at Kentucky last year, Anthony and his tireless play on the boards led the Wildcats to their first national title since 1998.
One of the most tenacious defenders in the NBA, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will not hesitate to dive for any loose ball. The strategy has helped Rondo average 1.9 steals per game over his career, along with 8.1 assists.
Few players are as tough as Manu Ginobili, who has been a leader for the San Antonio Spurs for years. His boxscore line will not blow you away, but his consistency has been key to the Spurs' three recent title runs.
For years Shane Battier has been tasked with guarding his opponent's best scorer and has consistently done a good job. That's not to say that Battier is just a defensive player -- he also finds the energy to put some points on the board, averaging 9.2 points per game in his career.