How Can We Learn From Kobe Bean Bryant?

As ironic and controversial as this sounds, I believe the best lesson that Kobe taught us all is that he passed away. Kobe, even Kobe, can be gone just like that. Ever since his retirement, I have not truly come to terms that I will not be seeing him in purple and gold again. His passing (pun fully intended) leaves me speechless. Here are some of my favourite quotes from him:

I wasn’t gonna catch these kids in a week. I wasn’t gonna catch these kids in a year. […] What do I want to work on first? Shooting? Alright. Let’s knock this out. Let’s focus on this. Half a year. Six months. Do nothing but shooting. After that I started to create a menu of things. When I came back that summer, I was a little better. […] They relied on their athleticism and natural ability. I worked on basics and fundamentals. Eventually, I just caught up with them.

Show up every single day. Do the work. […] You just can’t underestimate the power of showing up every single day and doing the work.

People just don’t understand how obsessed I am with winning. I focus on one thing and one thing only — that is trying to win as many championships as I can. […] Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts.

I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.

It is disgusting, but my father taught me when your mouth gets dry, just suck the sweat out of your own jersey. There is no bravado to any of it, it is just a disgusting little trick.

“I can remember winning the first championship and kind of being like, ‘Okay, now what? What happens now?’ … [Teammates] celebrating, waving champagne bottles around … And outside of that, it was, ‘Okay, now what?’”

There are a lot of answers I don’t have. Even a lot of questions that I don’t have. But I’m just gonna keep going and I’ll figure these things out as I go.

The biggest element that changed over time, however, was I went from watching what was there to watching for what was missing and should have been there. I went from watching what happened to what could have and should have happened. Film study eventually became imagining alternatives, counters, options, in addition to the finite details of why some actions work and others don’t work. […] It was always fun to watch, study and ask the most important question: Why?

Rewinding. Stopping. Fast Forward. Rewinding. Slow Motion. Every little thing. Every game of that season. […] It taught me to look at detail. I look at things that are the smallest. I look at body language. I look at the energy between players, our team and the other team. I look at the tactics. I look at the overall strategy and how tactically things are manifesting themselves. And because I watch so much film, it gave me the ability to see game in real life as if I was watching film. A lot of times, the game is moving really fast, but if you train yourself to watch hours and hours of film, the game is not moving that fast anymore, you can really recognise who is doing what and why. You can then position guys in the right places in real time. Seeing it before it happens.

You speak to them in executional terms. It is never “Come on guys, we can do better. Come on guys, we can do better.” That is rah-rah stuff. Leader must give very tactical things that we can do as adjustments.

When it came to basketball, I had no fear. What I mean by that is: if I wanted to implement something new into my game, I’d see it and try incorporating it immediately. I wasn’t scared of missing, looking bad, or being embarrassed. That’s because I always kept the end result, the long game, in my mind. I always focused on the fact that I had to try something to get it, and once I got it, I’d have another tool in my arsenal. If the price was a lot of work and a few missed shots, I was OK with that.

Over the years, my routine might have changed but my philosophy never did. If something has worked for other greats before you, and if something is working for you, why change it up and embrace some new fad? Stick with what works, even if it is unpopular.

If you really want to be great at something, you have to truly care about it. If you want to be great in a particular area, you have to obsess over it. […] Don’t tell me how rough the water is, just bring me the boat.

My mental preparation varied based on my headspace. It varied based on where I thought my head needed to be for that specific game. If I needed to get keyed up, for example, I listened to hard music. If I needed to soothe myself, I might play the same soundtrack I listened to on the bus in high school to put me back in that place. It is all about putting me in the place I need to be in for that game. some games required more intensity, so I would need to get my character and mind in an animated zone. Other games, I needed calm. In that situation, I wouldn’t listen to music. Sometimes, even, I would sit in total silence. The key, though, is being aware of how you’re feeling and how you need to be feeling. It all starts with awareness.

It is just me and the basket, the court and my imagination, dreams. There is something about being in a big arena when no one else is there. It gives me a sense of nirvana and also prepares me for the game. When I jogged out of the tunnel and the fans were screaming and it is loud, the noise didn’t impact me. Mentally, I was able to remember the stillness of the earlier moment and carry that with me.

Nothing in this world moves without story.

I like playing for the purple and gold. This is where I want to finish up.

Thank you, Kobe. Thank you for letting me realise my love for the game of basketball.

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Terence C.

There is a fine line between fishing and doing nothing. We would like to think that we’re fishing, but the truth is we don’t have the line.