4 Important Lessons We Learned From Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was a legend on the basketball court. In his 20 year career with the Lakers, he closed out that chapter of his life with 5 championship wins and a worldwide reputation as one of the greatest players of all time. But that might have been only a tiny part of his legacy. Kobe wanted more out of life than just basketball – he was creating art, assisting the homeless, and helping young people succeed both on and off the court.
On January 26, all that was cut short during the tragic helicopter crash that took his life and eight others, including his daughter Gianna. Kobe’s death left the world shattered, and millions gathered online to remember what Kobe left behind.
Some of it was physical; Paulo Coelho said he had an unfinished draft of a children’s book from Bryant as the inspiration for underprivileged kids. At AlchemyLeads, we could see the crash site from our office – a solemn reminder every day about how fragile life is and how unsuspecting tragedies can occur.
Some of it will be remembering his sheer greatness. Kobe wasn’t just a good basketball player; he was a leader and a true inspiration. As a tribute to him, we want to share 4 lessons that we’ve learned from him over the years.
1. Work Ethic is Everything
Kobe is well known for his work ethic and his “no-excuses” mentality. He was famous for showing up to 7 a.m. practice and putting in the extra hours just because he didn’t want to lose to the competition. Kobe never made excuses either. Once, he injured his shoulder but played in an NBA game anyways and adjusted by leading with his opposite hand. He had a 102-degree fever in another match and even stayed in the game after tearing his Achilles to assist his team with free throws.
While the competition we face might not be a fierce as Kobe’s was, this type of work ethic is what separates you from the crowd. When others were sleeping, Kobe was practicing. When others were taking a break, Kobe was working on himself. Being able to outwork everyone else is what creates legends.
2. Leaders Inspire Others
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”
It doesn’t matter how great you are at basketball – nobody stays on for 20 seasons in the NBA without being a leader and supporting their team. Kobe was well known for being a powerful, if not controversial force on his team. He would build his teammates up when they needed it and would break them down if that’s what it took. Kobe himself noted that many leaders fail at what they do because they don’t dare to “touch that nerve or strike that chord.”
While sometimes tough love is needed, the former Lakers superstar also explained in his book, Mamba Mentality, that he varied his methods on each player. Sometimes he would challenge his teammates and make them uncomfortable, but that wasn’t the only formula. Kobe put his massive work ethic into studying not only his opponents but also his teammates. Learning and watching how they behave, finding out their histories and goals – what makes them tick. To be a great leader means that you not only have to put in 100% to better yourself, but you need to put that effort into improving those around you as well.
3. How to deal with Pressure
“I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.”
If you’ve ever felt put down, humiliated, or overwhelmed, then look to Kobe for a new perspective – you’re letting yourself be intimidated. In your career and personal life, you will need to make stressful decisions under pressure, which can be intimidating.
In a famous game against the Utah Jazz, 18-year-old Kobe Bryant attempted to buzzer-beater during a playoffs game. Instead of being the game-winning play, the shot was a complete airball, and the Lakers went on to lose in overtime.
What happened afterward? Did Bryant give up on taking risky shots in high-pressure situations? No. Kobe decided to spend the entire off-season working on that shot. Instead of using that moment as a catalyst to become a passive player, he channeled it as feedback to improve on his already impressive skills.
At the end of his long 20-year career, Kobe established himself as one of the most clutch players in the league’s history – coming in at 36 game-winning shots. If you want to handle pressure like Kobe, work and work and work until those high-pressure situations turn into a “day in the life” for you.
4. Mamba Mindset
“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”
The Mamba Mindset isn’t some self-help or success plan. It’s a lifestyle dedicated to becoming one of the greats, probability be damned.
Kobe watched basketball legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson on T.V, mesmerized by their incredible skill and amazing feats. At just 13 years old, inspired by his great predecessors, he decided that he would be one of the greats in basketball. We can follow Kobe’s “if they can do it, so can I” mindset no matter what activity we’re trying to excel at. Whether we’re trying to further our career, learn a new skill or hobby, create a new habit, or maybe even become a great athlete, applying yourself wholeheartedly and following the footsteps of someone already successful can pay dividends.
The drive to excel, passion, work ethic, pure dedication, extreme focus, and a desire to follow the footsteps of the Greats are the elements that combine into the Mamba Mentality.
In just 41 years, Kobe has left a legacy that will never be forgotten. While his flashy plays and enthusiastic attitude on the court is what got him his fame, it’s the behind-the-scenes hard work and wisdom that will live on forever. Kobe showed us how to be great leaders and that anything can be achieved through hard work and determination.
Rest in peace, Mamba.