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From Jay-Z to Beethoven: How music helped Kobe Bryant cope with life’s biggest moments

Kobe Bryant revealed he listened to Jay-Z, Beethoven and Journey to find inspiration when he was still playing.
Kobe Bryant listened to different musicians to help him get through challenges and pressure of being an NBA player

Here’s how listening to music helped Kobe Bryant cope and overcome his life’s most significant moments

Music becomes entertainment only if we can relate to it, but its therapeutic effect has been credited with helping people relax, relieve stress, or even get inspired. Kobe Bryant was no different. Here’s how listening to music helped him cope and overcome his life’s most significant moments.

Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt

Being a rookie in the NBA comes with extra pressure, especially if you’re a teenager who jumped to the pros from high school. Playing for the most popular team in the league doubled the burden, but young Kobe Bryant revealed he listened to rap songs to get through with it.

In 2013, he was asked what his favorite album of all time was in an interview with Complex. The Black Mamba revealed the album was from none other than his friend Jay-Z.

“I have to say Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt still remains my favorite album. American Gangster is a close second. Life After Death with Biggie Smalls. I’ll go with Reasonable Doubt.”

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Reasonable Doubt was released in 1996, the same year Kobe got drafted into the league. We could imagine young Kobe listening to this album hundreds of times to hype him up or drown out the outside noise from critics. Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z’s debut studio album, went on to sell 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone as of 2006. Reasonable Doubt started everything for Jay-Z, and it also helped Kobe in his rookie year. You can listen to the whole album below.

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

Things were not looking good when the Lakers star suffered a torn Achilles tendon in 2013. The Black Mamba was already 34 then, and overcoming a major injury could prove to be a challenge. However, Bryant was just different; he admitted he listened to Beethoven and used the deaf composer to help him overcome his dire situation. Not to be outdone, Kobe even learned how to play Beethoven.

“Beethoven was not supposed to compose the Ninth Symphony while being legally deaf. Not being able to hear and composing the Ninth Symphony was probably a bigger challenge than playing basketball with one and a half legs.”

Not to be outdone, Kobe even learned how to play Beethoven.

Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’

In true Kobe Bryant fashion, the Hall of Famer listened to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ for two years simply because the TD Garden played that song in 2008 when Boston defeated L.A. in the NBA finals. This time, Kobe used music to keep the fire in him burning. Good thing he got his revenge in 2010 after the Lakers got over the Celtics in seven games. If the L.A. Lakers also lost that series, we could only imagine how long Kobe would have to listen to Don’t Stop Believin’.

Basketball and music are intertwined forever

Basketball and music will be forever intertwined together. They are part of a bigger culture. There are musicians, singers, and rappers who play basketball, while NBA players have also released their music albums and starred in various movies, some more successful than the others. Music has been more than an outlet and creative expression for players. In Kobe’s case, it might have saved his life and his career when he was at his lowest. 

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