On January 26, 2020, we lost legendary NBA superstar Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.
Bryant’s sudden passing left the world in mourning and left so many of us reflecting on the man, the myth and the mentality of The Black Mamba. Kobe will be remembered for many things, most of all the love he had for his family.
But it was his drive, his work ethic, his no excuse lifestyle that left the world in awe. It was this mentality that led him to being an 18 back-to-back All Star game player, a two-time NBA scoring champ, two-time Olympic gold medal winner, two-time NBA Finals MVP and a five time NBA champion, USA Today reports.
Over the span of his 20-year career, Kobe continued to embody and model this mamba mentality. Below are 10 quotes from the icon that hopefully motivates you to carry on the legacy of The Black Mamba.
“When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure,’ I think that is almost worse than dying.”
“Everything negative -- pressure, challenges -- is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
“When you make a choice and say, ‘Come hell or high water, I am going to be this,’ then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that is intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that … when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time, because it has been [in your mind] the whole time.”
“If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.”
“The process of it [drives me to come back.] I want to see if I can. I don’t know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see. I’m going to do what I always do: I’m going to break it down to its smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it. Day by day, one day at a time.”
“Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts.”
“There’s a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something there is a choice you have to make. We can all be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that.”
“I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.”
“Leadership is lonely … I’m not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us to where we need to go. There’s a big misconception where people thinking winning or success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing kumbaya and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that’s just not reality. If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.”
“If you do the work, you work hard enough, dreams come true. You know that, we all know that. But hopefully what you get … is that those times when you get up early and you work hard; those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when you don’t feel like working - you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself - but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true, something greater will.”
Thank you Kobe for all you’ve taught us. Long Live The Black Mamba.
Photo Courtesy of Robert Hanashiro/Reuters