'If I’m only known as being a great basketball player, I didn’t fulfill my job as an individual on this earth.' This may be one of my favorite Kobe quotes ever. You see how important legacy was for the guy and how he wanted a perception about him to be multidimensional. There's so much more to Kobe Bryant than just basketball. He knew it, and he made sure that we all know it.
Now tell me, is that a talent thing? To some extent, for sure. But it's mostly a mentality thing. It's the fear of mediocrity. It's the exigency of standing out. It's a predator-like approach to whatever you're doing. For most, this is inconceivable. Most will settle with being average. It's how the world works, and it's what keeps things balanced. But Kobe wasn't here to maintain the balance. He was here to shift it.
Kobe wanted to be a hunter, not the prey. He created a hierarchy he wanted to be on top of. It contextualized in everything he was doing in his life, with a never changing, almost an animalistic approach. And he did find an animal he identified with. The one that painted the perfect picture of Kobe's way of living life.
“Kobe was always fascinated with animals that were like known to be aggressive, and snake and the mentality of the venom. Things people feared, were more of allies to him. The Mamba Mentality is the Black Mamba, which is the most dangerous snake out there. He's not going to think of a garden snake. If he's going to put a mentality gather, it's going to be with the most venomous, most dangerous individual out there.”
Tim Grover, GQ Sports
And Kobe was just that - one of the most "dangerous" individuals out there. His legacy goes beyond NBA arenas because there's so much more he's accomplished outside of the game of basketball. But to me, it all starts with his approach. His Black Mamba mentality. That's his biggest legacy, and it's something we all can learn something from, regardless of our profession.