Mamba Mentality: The Kobe Bryant Story

Copyright-free photo uploaded onto Unsplash by Fred Kearney

Last week was a week of loss. The world mourned, families mourned, and sports fans everywhere were left devastated. After an unexpected helicopter crash in a remote field in Calabasas, California Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna both lost their lives along with seven other passengers. The other passengers included John Altobelli, Kerri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, and Payton Chester. 

This Monday ahead of the Superbowl LIV match up, the NFL paid tribute to the NBA superstar and to all of the victims of the tragic helicopter crash. Players from the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers lined up at their respective 24-yard lines for a moment of silence in honor of Kobe Bryant and all of his incredible accomplishments. As a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 consecutive seasons, Bryant was considered to be one of the greatest basketball legends to ever live. Over the course of his career, Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships. The legendary basketball star was an 18-time All-Star and was named the NBA’s most valuable player in the 2007/2008 season. With four All-Star MVP awards under his belt, along with winning a gold medal in the 2008 summer Olympics games, Kobe Bryant sparked the imagination of millions of fans around the world. “Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses” (Kobe Bryant). Kobe taught all of us that hard work is the most important thing a person can have. 

The basketball superstar’s book, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play”, revolves around believing in yourself, and doing everything within your power to improve yourself. Mamba mentality is about 4:00 am workouts, doing more than the next guy and then trusting in the work you’ve put in when it’s time to perform. Without studying, preparation and practice, you’re leaving the outcome to fate. I don’t do fate” (Kobe Bryant). What was so inspiring about Kobe’s message, is that it was about basketball just as much as it was about life. Kobe Bryant’s athletic feats encapsulated the essence of the American Dream. Kobe Bryant went from being a 12 year old boy unable to score a single basket or lay up, to becoming one of the greatest basketball players to ever live. 

Kobe Bryant proved to the world that the key to success is persistence and hard work. Kobe himself started playing basketball since the age of 3. As he became older, Kobe started to take basketball to be more of a passion rather than a hobby. After moving to Reggio, Emilia Bryant’s grandfather sent him videos from NBA basketball games for him to study in his free time. While in high school, Kobe was known for waking up every morning at 5:00 am voluntarily to practice basketball on his own. When accepting the Icon Award at the ESPYS, Kobe explained his early morning mentality that he has had ever since he was a young boy. “We’re not on this stage because of talent or ability. We’re up here because of 4:00 am” (Kobe Bryant). Bryant was referring to the practices that occurred long before anyone else was awake. He put in the work no one else was willing to. As a player, Kobe always believed that hard work fed talent. He looked up to stars with similar mentalities like Michael Jordan. 

After reading Micheal Jordan’s story of not making the cut to play on the high school basketball team, Kobe knew that he was going to work hard like his hero to become a winner. Oftentimes as people grow up, they stop trying to be like their heroes, but Kobe Bryant never stopped trying. From a young 12-year-old boy in Philadelphia to a basketball sensation, Kobe Bryant has never stopped dreaming and working. The mamba mentality will live within the hearts of people for generations to come.  Last week was a terrible loss for so many families who lost loved ones. But it was also a reminder, to those of us lucky enough to live another day. Every day offers us a chance. Now is your chance to work hard and dream big, and become a legend.