Kobe Bryant was one of a kind. As one of the best basketball players ever, "The Mamba" immortalized himself in the history books and became a true legend of the NBA. But that success didn't come by accident, as Kobe could be called one of the most dedicated and hardest workers you will ever find. In general, his mentality and approach to life were different, as many people really couldn't understand it, especially young basketball players coming up.
The legend of Kobe and his iconic "Mamba Mentality"
What more can be said about the legacy of Kobe Bryant that hasn't already been said? Hall-of-Famer, 5 championships, 18 All-Star appearances, 1 MVP award, and countless other accolades, as he spent his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles, becoming a symbol of the Lakers franchise.
The immaculate scoring ability and all-around complete game on both ends of the floor made Kobe the best player in the game for a good chunk of his career, but what really made him stand out and unique was his work ethic. The notorious "Mamba Mentalitiy" is no myth. Kobe lived that way, on and off the court. Forcing yourself to be better and perfecting your craft epitomized the way Bryant lived, as he never changed even late in his career.
Kobe shares knowledge for the next generation and responds to being called soft
Of course, living that way and having that level of dedication is not easy, as sacrifices have to be made in order to devote yourself to a particular craft. Kobe knew that from a young age, as basketball was the only thing he wanted to do. That meant not going out, living the young, reckless life, and partying, but staying inside and focusing solely on basketball. Something not many players have the ability to do.
Kobe never shied away from speaking out on the way he operates, as he shared this knowledge to some pretty familiar faces (Lebron James, Sebastian Telfair, Lenny Cooke), back in 2001 during an ABCD camp, the place that was once upon a time the gathering of the best high school basketball players in the country. Kobe kept it real with the young prospects, saying how they will do better settling for a family life rather than going to clubs and partying:
"Coming to the league, at an early age, you get a chance to see what's good and what's not good for you. Running around, going to clubs, and doing all this stuff, although it may sound fun to you guys now, man, that's not the important thing. The important thing is finding a woman that you can spend the rest of your life with. Some guys might be different, but that makes me happy."
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Of course, a few stubborn teenagers didn't like that, as they called him soft. Kobe had the perfect response:
"That's not soft; on the court, I will wear your ass up. Don't get it twisted."
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This was the perfect representation of Kobe. Profound, calm, and calculated outside the court but on the other side, an absolute monster on the court, ready to do anything to help his team win. It's really interesting to see how some of the guys listening soaked up that advice and became great like LeBron James.
While on the other end, generational talents like Sebastian Telfair and especially Lenny Cooke never managed to fulfill their potential, as they got caught up in the fame and distractions. It just shows how wise and accurate Kobe's advice was. The moral of the story is to leave your ego at the door and listen to the greats because they know what they're doing. Greatness doesn't happen by accident.