Above all else, people talk about the Mamba mentality. On the latest BS podcast with Bill Simmons, J.A. Adande told a story of Kobe recommending a book about greatness. Kobe insisted Adande reads the book but ended the recommendation with a true Mamba condition.
“If you tell LeBron or anyone else about this book, I’ll kill you”Kobe Bryant
That was Kobe, in a nutshell. The possibility of LeBron or one of his competitors reading the book and learning something from it wasn’t acceptable for Kobe. Everything was about getting an edge, doing everything possible to win when the lights shine brightest.
All that changed the moment Kobe retired. The most secretive competitor became the most giving mentor. Dozens of people talked about Kobe being one text away, always available for advice and encouragement. Think of all the players we know worked with Kobe in preseason workouts. His love for the game was limitless, and Kobe had a sense of responsibility to nurture the game and see it evolve, the same way the great players before him did.
One of the ways Kobe tried to do so was to make sure every person he knew that could help the game grow is inspired to do so. He just couldn’t see talent go to waste. There was no-one he would give up on, not even Gilbert Arenas. The NBA’s resident clown, the man with a million crazy stories, will take Kobe up on his challenge. Gilbert is becoming a coach.
So many people have been touched and moved to become better people after this tragedy. Most of us that didn’t get to know Kobe because we got reminded that life is fragile, and we shouldn’t waste it. Those who knew him, to live the words of encouragement Kobe gave them.
Out of all those people, getting Gilbert Arenas to “stop being an idiot on social media” and start coaching youth basketball must crack a smile on Kobe’s face looking down on us. Miracles do happen.