Kobe Bryant will do almost anything to gain a competitive advantage, and the super-motivated Los Angeles Lakers star recently revealed that this drive includes looking to the animal kingdom for help with his jump shot.

In an interview with the New York Times, in which Bryant and Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington sat down with reporter Philip Galanes, Bryant said he was looking for ways to improve his balance after struggling with his shot early in his career. Flipping through channels one day he settled on the Discovery Channel, where he watched a cheetah in the hunt:

"When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you'll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?"

The stories of Bryant's work ethic are copious, but this may be the most unique. It's one thing to put in hours upon hours in the gym, it's another to study animals.

The NBA community has had some fun with Bryant's reveal, and CBSSports.com writer Matt Moore created this graphic depicting the change in Bryant's form:

The most noteworthy block from Saturday's Texas A&M-SMU game may have come on the sidelines.

As SMU wide receiver De’rikk Thompson came barreling toward Reveille VIII, the A&M mascot and unofficial "Queen of Aggie Land," sophomore cadet Ryan Kreider jumped to the 8-year-old collie's defense and shielded her from danger. Here's a video of Kreider's heroics:

The Aggies went on to win 58-6, so Kreider's block provided a memorable moment from an otherwise forgettable game. Shortly after saving Reveille VIII, Kreider was interviewed on the sidelines:

On Monday the man in charge of all of Texas A&M's cadets, Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez Jr., announced that he would be paying for Kreider's senior boots, which cadets don for the first time at the Final Review at the end of their junior year. The boots cost around $1,600.

Reveille VIII, who will be retiring at the end of the spring semester, is a campus celebrity. Krieder has said students often stop him on campus to meet and take pictures with Reveille, making Kreider's walk to class sometimes as long as 45 minutes.

Manziel, Wiggins, LeBron ... Swagger.

There's a new Fantastic Four in Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns VP of Marketing Kevin Griffin informed Chris Fillar of WKRK-FM, 92.3 The Fan Cleveland, the franchise will have a new mascot: A bullmastiff named "Swagger" will lead the Browns into FirstEnergy Stadium eight Sundays in the fall (unless new head coach Mike Pettine is thinking postseason).

Bullmastiffs are known for their stout appearance and short muzzle. Perhaps the most popular is "Butkus," Rocky Balboa's dog. Swagger's role may be to display brute prowess, similar to the job of such collegiate mascots as Georgia's Uga and Auburn's War Eagle.

The dog is an extension of the Dawg Pound, the east end zone bleacher section at FirstEnergy Stadium. It will be intriguing to see how the mascot connects with the rowdy fans.

Swagger will not be the first Browns' mascot. Although not an in-person presence, the old Browns (now the Baltimore Ravens) and the current Browns dabbled with "Brownie the Elf," a human logo. More recently, the Browns have used "Chomps," a traditional plushy dog mascot. According to the Browns' website, Chomps' home is the Cleveland Browns Dog Pound. His favorite foods are roasted raven and baked Bengal tiger (where are the Steelers references?). There is no sign of Swagger kicking Chomps out of Cleveland.

This may be a sign of Brian Hoyer losing his job as the Browns' starting quarterback, but that is another story. Welcome to the Johnny Football/Swagger Era (that fits) in Cleveland.

Note: Fillar tweeted out an Instagram and a tweet sent by the NFL about "Swagger," but both have since been deleted by the NFL accounts.

NFL.com did have this confirmation.

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An American Legion baseball game in Alaska had an unusually large spectator Sunday. A black bear walked along the far side of the outfield fence, causing a delay in play. The bear was one of approximately 200,000 that live in Alaska, but we're not sure how many actually like to catch the occasional baseball game.

The bear peacefully retreated back into the woods without any further disruption to the game in Juneau. Although possibly the largest, the bear is not the first animal to interrupt a baseball game with its presence.

In the 2007 ALDS between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians, gnats swarmed pitcher Joba Chamberlain, causing him to pause multiple times for a bug spray break. In 2001, Randy Johnson famously hit a bird with a fastball during a spring training game.

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During the 2010 World Cup, fans should have paid more attention to predictions from an octopus rather than human analysts. Paul The Octopus gained stardom when he correctly picked the final between Spain and the Netherlands as well as going 11 for 13 with his forecasts of Germany's results during Euro 2008 and the World Cup.

The media buzz for Paul overshadowed the success of Nelly The Elephant. Nelly went 30 for 33 in her picks of the 2006 Women's World Cup, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, but the fame went to Paul.

Since Paul's passing in October 2010, Nelly has had a better chance to make a name for herself as the soccer animal psychic. The elephant kicks balls into one of two nets. Each net has a flag representing each nation in that specific game.

According to a report on NDTV, Nelly predicts that Germany will advance from its group by tying Portugal and beating the United States and Ghana.

The video, though, is confusing. It shows Nelly kicking the ball in the Americans' net, which would seem to indicate her selection. Perhaps something was lost in translation.

Using elephants can be risky when predicting games. In 2012 an Indian elephant named Citta was asked to predict all the games of the European Championship. Citta lived at the Krakow Zoo in Poland, and her popularity plummeted after picking Poland’s first two games incorrectly.

The recent phenomenon of psychic animals is reaching fever pitch levels. China has invited a panda cub to choose the World Cup winners. The panda cub would be another in a long list of animals to try and achieve glory through World Cup prophecy. The fame that Paul The Octopus achieved also brought an increase in visitors to his home at the Oberhausen Sea Life Center in Germany.

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It's not uncommon for a soccer fan to have a strong reaction when he or she hears the name "Lionel Messi."

The 26-year-old Argentine is, after all, one of the best players in the world and a four-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Apparently, it's not just humans that are turned on by Messi.

In a new viral video, a dog gets worked up just at the sound of Messi's name. The pooch has no reaction to hearing the words "Cristiano Ronaldo," Messi's Real Madrid rival. But upon hearing the name of Messi, the dog snarls and shows its teeth.

The dog has a similar reaction when it hears the name "Sergio Busquets," another of Barcelona's star. So it appears that this dog is squarely in the Real Madrid camp.

Perhaps it is sarcasm or a matter of interpretation, but the YouTube title is "Dog Loves Lionel Messi!" In either case, there is no question that the dog responds in emphatic fashion.

The video has 100,000 views in less than a week.

This isn't the first time we've seen an intense rivalry extend to dogs. In Nov. 2012 a dog named Dexter became a viral sensation after he refused to eat a piece of jerky is associated with the Cowboys.

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In November 2011, the New York Times did an in-depth story that asked the question, "Can the Bulldog Be Saved?" It looked at issues such as how inbreeding and breeding for “extreme traits" were leading to medical complications.

HBO's Real Sports takes a fresh look at this situation, particularly as it relates the realm of competitive dog shows. It is part of an episode that premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday. Here's a preview:

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Even in his most casual moments, Jim Harbaugh cannot help but bring out his competitive spirit.

During a recent trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom outside San Francisco, Harbaugh faced off against Siku, a 1,750-pound female Pacific walrus, in a pushup challenge.

Shockingly, Harbaugh isn't wearing khaki pants and a 49ers hat, but everything else about this video aligns with the man we've come to know and love for his boundless intensity on the sidelines and his still-impressive physique.

According to reports, Harbaugh also got a kiss from a sea lion, bottle-fed a tiger and met an elephant.

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If you're going to kiss on alligator on the lips, it's a good idea to make sure its mouth is taped shut.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter did just that before delivering a smooch to an alligator on a dare from teammate Justin Verlander.

Hunter posted the photo on Instagram along with the following caption:

"My homey @justinverlander dared me to kiss an alligator. #defeatmyfear #stillfearit #madeboots"

Even though the alligator's mouth is taped shut, give Hunter credit for still getting this close. Apparently he's got a fear of alligators, so this is a pretty significant hurdle for him to overcome.

Justin Verlander, it seems, is having the time of his life at spring training. He's driving luxury cars to workouts, hanging out with his supermodel girlfriend and dishing out dares to teammates. And, oh yeah, he'll be making his first start of the spring on Thursday.

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During the past year Russell Wilson has captivated fans in Seattle, brought the city its first major championship since 1979 and, perhaps less notably but still importantly, joined the search for a missing dog.

What more could this guy do to endear himself to the Emerald City?

The folks at the Facebook page "Lost & Found Pets Wa State" posted a story about how a dog named Panda went missing at a Seattle-area dog park. Wilson and his wife happened to be at the park and they got involved with the search for poor Panda.

The dog was eventually found at 2:30 a.m., thanks to a bit of food coaxing.

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