Less than a month into the New Year, we lost a basketball legend – Kobe Bryant. The passing of this five-time champion with the LA Lakers and loving father of four shook up the world.
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine people who died in a tragic helicopter accident on Sunday, Jan 26, 2020. Moments like this inspire us to be more reflective in our own actions. Death reminds us to love people while they’re still here and cherish each breath we take, as we don’t know when will be our last.
But when an icon like Kobe Bryant passes, we’re pushed to be introspective in a different way. The way he lived his life inspires us to analyze how we show up in the world and if we’re really willing to work towards our dreams.
Whether you’re a basketball fan or not, we can all appreciate Kobe’s passion for the game and dedication to being the best he could be. Here are three quotes he said in various interviews, and accompanying questions you should ask yourself to continuously evolve.
1. How bad do you really want it?
“The Mamba Mentality simply means trying to be the best version of yourself… every day trying to become better. It’s a constant quest, an infinite quest… To reach a certain level of success for any industry that you’re in, you have to have an ego that’s going to say ‘I want to be the best, this is what’s going to drive me’… It’s a choice that you have to make.” – Kobe Bryant talks Mamba Mentality
Kobe created the moniker “Black Mamba” in the early 2000s to represent his killer snake approach to the game, but his “Mamba Mentality” was embedded since the beginning of his career. His work ethic was unmatched, and he was willing to push himself to be the best at his craft — even if that meant starting his day at 4am or spending countless hours in the gym.
The Mamba Mentality is a never-ending cycle of going for what you want. Cut the bullshit, stop making excuses and do the work. Period.
2. Who do you need to talk to at GOAT Mountain?
“I went to GOAT Mountain, and I’d talk to Magic, Michael, Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jerry West, Oscar Robinson, Bill Russell… I would talk to them… What did you do? What were your experiences… I went to them and started understanding the ins and outs of the game. How they approached things and their level of detail and obsessiveness.” – Kobe Bryant on the mindset of a winner
Kobe became a great by studying the greats. He acknowledged that he didn’t know everything, so he learned the techniques and strategies of other top performing athletes and applied them to his practice.
Who are the GOATs in your industry that you need to “talk” to? While you may not be able to call them up when you have a question, you can study their moves and learn from their journey. Watch their interviews, read their books, analyze how they highlight their brand on social media.
You don’t have to recreate the wheel, take Kobe’s approach and consistently study the movers and shakers in your industry.
3. Are you willing to take on the responsibility of pulling others up with you as you climb?
“I think for us going forward, how do I carry this night beyond this night. There’s a greater sense of responsibility. How do I create and provide more opportunities for more diverse new voices to be heard in this industry.” – Kobe Bryant talks about Oscar win on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Kobe made history on and off the court — he was the first professional athlete to win an Academy Award and the first African American to win in the Best Animated Short Film category.
Dear Basketball was based on Kobe’s letter to The Players’ Tribune announcing his retirement from the NBA. While creating this project he witnessed first-hand the lack of diversity in entertainment and sought out to make a difference in the industry through Granity Studios, a multimedia content company that creatively tells stories around sports.
Even if you don’t have the resources to create a big platform like Kobe did with Granity Studios, be inspired to help someone else with what you have. Mentor a college student, barter your services, volunteer for an organization that needs your gifts — whatever you do, know you have the power to make an impact right where you are… just like Kobe.
Rest in peace, Kobe.
“Heroes come and go, but legends are forever” – Kobe Bryant