NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed in a tragic helicopter crash on 26 January 2020 together with seven others. A basketball icon, his influence transcends the basketball courts to the sports world, business world and even society at large. Known for his Mamba Mentality, which simply put means the constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday, we look back on his life and draw inspiration from his mindset in this challenging time.
This article is put together by our good friend and avid basketball fan Ivan Lee:
Kobe was regarded as the epitome of hard work and perseverance by many aspiring athletes and seasons professionals – many of them NBA stars themselves.
He was the first guard to leave high school to enter the NBA. Many critics said he would not be able to handle the transition. He went on to retire as one of the greatest players in the NBA history, becoming a generational player who was more than the sport itself.
Kobe was one of the most prolific scorers the game has known, despite playing in an era where hand checking – using an arm to impede the forward or lateral movement of an offensive player – was still permitted until the 2003-2004 season.
He was known to have no weakness in his game, working on and mastering every craft in the sport such as the mid-range jumpers, 3 pointers, displaying artistry in his post-up moves and acrobatic finishes. He was also a disciplined perimeter defender – always guarding the best players of the opposing team.
Known for his Mamba Mentality, he had insane work ethic and was one of the fiercest competitors during his time which later paved the way to how athletes train today.
During an interview, Kobe once explained the way he trained and how he kept himself always ahead of the race: “Imagine you wake up at 3, you train at 4, from 4 to 6. Come home, have breakfast. Now you’re back at it again from 9 to 11, relax, and now you’re back at it again from 2 to 4, now you’re back at it again from 7 to 9.”
“Look how much more training I have done by simply starting at 4. So now you do that, and as the years go on, the separation you have with your competitors and peers grows larger and larger… And by year 5 and 6, it doesn’t matter what kind of work they do in the summer — they’re NEVER going to catch up,” he said.
He would always be in the arena hours before games, drenched in sweat before anyone show up.
Against the Golden State Warriors in 2013, he sustained an achilles tear which is an injury that has derailed or ended the careers of athletes, often causing a loss of explosiveness and leaping ability.
However it affects the mental state of other athletes, Kobe said, “This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??
I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was.
Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me… Then again maybe not! It’s 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I’m wide awake.
Forgive my Venting but what’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.
One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.
‘If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear’. I’ve always loved that quote. That’s “mamba mentality” we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer..
He came back that season about half the PPG (Points Per Game) finishing at 13.8, while his 3-point percentage plummeted from .324 to .188.
Visual by Ivan Lee. Find more here.
Yet, he refused to throw in the towel. Kobe also had to remodel his game to adjust to the new era of basketball the Golden State Warriors ushered in which was the “small ball line up”. Despite all of that he went on to score 22.3 PPG in the following season and 17.6 PPG in the final season while delivering a historic 60-point game against the Utah Jazz for his final game. He ended his career with 33,943 points scored. He is still ranked the fourth-highest scorer in NBA history today.
Even in retirement Kobe never stopped. He set up the Mamba Academy to nurture young athletes and also trained rising stars like Anthony Davis and Jayson Tatum.
There is no doubt that this is a challenging time, for business and for society. Could we call upon our own Mamba Mentality? “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever… We don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.”
Stay safe and healthy. We will get through this.
(Main pic source.)
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