As an awkward, chubby teenager, I loved basketball (and still do). But I was never as good of an athlete, technically sound, or passionate about it as I wanted to be. And in the back of my head, I always knew that my dreams of playing college basketball on any stage were futile. Despite all of this, one man made this understanding okay: Kobe Bryant, superstar shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, and my childhood hero.
Kobe’s tragic death Sunday kicked the world in the face. I would argue that we haven’t seen a public reaction to a celebrity death this magnified since the sudden death of The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
And for good reason.
In a mere two days, it may already be cliché to say, but Kobe’s passion for, and dedication to his craft truly transcended basketball. To this day, there has never been an athlete of his caliber as charitable with his advice on greatness. “Mamba Mentality” is the ultimate dedication to one’s passion, and the willingness to input an incomparable amount of work against one’s peers and competitors. Today, we reflect on the Mamba Mentality, and the way Kobe, in his short life, was able to create a relative gold standard for greatness across a variety of professions.
Love What You Do
We have written about this quite a few times here at TSB. No one loved their craft more than The Black Mamba, and he advised anyone, no matter who they were, that the only way to truly achieve greatness is to love what you do. Kobe loved the game of basketball so much that he won an Academy Award for his farewell short film, “Dear Basketball.”
According to Kobe, loving your craft is the dream. It is up to us to carry his legacy forward by donating our energy to the things we love and becoming great at them.
There is No Substitution for Hard Work
As simple as it may sound, hearing these words from the NBA’s fourth all-time leading scorer undeniably carries more weight than your average pro. Whatever your profession may be, there is no replacement for hard work. Kobe made a career of putting in more work than any of his peers through his incomprehensible work ethic. He was a fiery competitor, almost to a fault. His teammates both loved and hated him for it, as well as NBA fans.
But Kobe’s path to success was no secret. As I said, no athlete has ever been as open with his process. When asked about what it takes to be great, he would say,
“Practice and train harder than anyone else.”
There is no substitution for hard work. Whatever our endeavors may be, the only way to see tangible progress is to consistently outwork the competition, as best as you are capable.
Failure and Obstacles are Important
“Everything negative – pressure, challenges are all an opportunity for me to rise.”
One of the Black Mamba’s most famous quotes. We will all face pressure and challenges in our lives, and they will come in many different forms. Kobe had an alternate perspective on this reality than most. To him, every obstacle was an opportunity to elevate higher than he was before, a trait he worked diligently to train himself to associate with greatness.
We must train ourselves to associate challenges with opportunity. They are the same. If Kobe Bryant said so, I believe it. And you should too.
Kobe poured his passion into every endeavor, whether it was basketball, entrepreneurship, or being a husband and father. I believe I speak for everyone, or hopefully, most, when I say that we will put his advice to use. We will implement the Mamba Mentality into our lives as best as we can for the things that we love.
After all, what better way to honor his legacy than to become great?
Rest In Peace to the fallen victims of Sunday’s crash