I know that there will be more detailed and probably better thought out articles and tributes to the life of the man that was Kobe Bryant. Instead of compiling something with data and flow, I’m going to write from the heart. I’m doing zero research for this, but rather just my thoughts and memories of him.
I was never a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers when he played. I was once an Orlando Magic fan until Shaq left, and then I needed a new team. I’ve been a Clippers fan since Lamar Odom was drafted by them, and had the complete opposite of a soft spot for the big brothers down the hall in the Lakers.
I was never really a fan of Bryant when he played either. He was on the hated Lakers, he had Shaq with him, and he always won. But the reason I wasn’t a fan of his was that I respected his game so much. To me, he was the next Michael Jordan. He could shoot, he could pass, he could defend and he could beat you one on one or with others. He was just that good and he knew it.
He was someone who the game came naturally to, and he didn’t have to work hard to be successful. He had good instincts, his body was big enough to have a presence but small enough to be fast. But that’s where he differentiates himself from the others. He could have complacently been a success and had a very good career. But he had that mentality where good was never enough. He wanted to be the best. He worked his ass off to be the best. The first one in the gym, last one to leave the gym, he would also shoot around after games to work on mistakes he made. He was an incredible influence on youth in that he told them straight out that they need to work hard to succeed. It’s one thing to just want it, but it’s another thing to make it happen. He did.
I am stunned and mortified. I get that he’s on tv, he’s an athlete and he’s someone I have never or would never have met. But it’s the Mamba mentality that we can all learn from him that we should remember. If you want something, GO FOR IT. Do what you need to do to make it happen. As long as you don’t hurt anyone in your path, CARVE YOUR OWN PATH. Be the person you want to be and leave your impression. Big or small, short or tall, everyone is important and everyone has something to offer. Good enough is never good enough because everyone is great enough.