Kobe is one of my idols (idolization may seem like a weak trait, but if you idolize the mindset/way the person lives or rather idolize them for the mindset and not the person themselves, that makes all the difference), and being from the same hometown of Philadelphia as me and playing for my favorite team (I was a Lakers fan before I was a Kobe fan) I have long been an observer of his, both as a fan and a critic. Kobe is a 5x NBA Champion and an elite NBA player, and while he has his detractors, he has achieved a feat that dispels any doubts about his drive for the game.
“Kobe (on rings): I should have seven”
Anyone who knows Kobe or has watched him knows that one of the main things that he preaches, and one of the main staples of his mindset is his focus. The interviewer knows Kobe as well as I do to be able to identify this, as this is one of the key characteristics of Kobe’s mindset that can be likened to the principles of Bravado: his focus, his drive, his determination, his willpower all are rivaled by few on this earth, few people have worked as hard as Kobe Bryant has his career.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, Kobe undoubtedly has a reputation for being the first one in the gym and the last one to leave, and working the hardest while there, and this is part of what sets him apart from nearly every other
player person to touch a basketball. He wasn’t content with thinking himself as the best, he wasn’t content with the fans thinking he was the best, he wasn’t going to stop until you KNEW he was the best in the game. There are countless NBA players that will tell you in their opinion that Kobe is the best (or one of the best) to ever play the game, and this all boils down to his FOCUS.
During Kobe’s alleged sexual assault investigation, he lost endorsement deals with Nike, Spalding, Mcdonalds and Nutella to name a few, and it seemed like his life was suddenly spiraling out of control. Did he give up? Did he start pussying out and sulking about how bad his life had gotten?
He got up the next morning, hit the gym, shot some shots up and got past the ordeal. He wasn’t going to let the accusation ruin his life, he was just going to keep working and getting better at his craft, and everything else would sort itself out.
Evenetually, Kobe settled out of court and was back having game-winning clutch performances en route to another NBA Finals Trip. They ended up being upset by the Detroit Pistons in said Finals, but such is beside the point.
Kobe could have done what any, normal ordinary man would have done in that situation.
He could have sulked.
He could have gone out there and reminisced on what life could have been.
But did he? No.
He went out there, he took the world by the horns, he took the pent up frustration and determination inside of him and did what with him? Say it with me now…. Made himself
SUCH IS THE PHILOSOPHY OF BRAVADO.
Kobe is a winner and an elite of the game. He knows what he can achieve and knows that he can work hard to get there, he doesn’t let the bullshit like doubts, stress, fear, uncertainty or anything like that cloud his judgment. He gets up early in the morning before the world is awake (a practice me and him share), so he can get his workout and training in and still have the rest of the daylight hours of the day to be productive. His practices are of high intensity also, a common sentiment from those who have played with him, and those that have played against, as what’s the point of getting up before the early bird gets the work if you’re not putting 110% effort into what you’re doing if you’re not an elite on a team filled with them?
Kobe is passionate, but to a point of obsession, and this often comes off as arrogance on the court. Is he arrogant? Well, it depends on your definition of the word. If you call being a leader for your team – and with such team being arguably the most famous franchise in NBA History (the Celtics may have one more ring, but we edge them out by 10 more finals trips) and expecting nothing but the absolute best from everyone you play with, then I guess so. If you believe and can go out there and prove that you’re the best player in the world, why would you want to work with anyone who isn’t an elite? It’s the same reason celebrities will often do things like donating to charity (to increase public image) rather than directly help out someone struggling – winners can sense others with the same winning drive and determination as them, and they are the only ones they directly have the time for. It is this obsession that has led him to the highly decorated career that he has today.
Think about it, would you want to be around someone holding you back? Someone that you know is keeping you from getting to that next level of success? If you can go out every day and give 100% and they’re only giving 75%, why would you want to be around them and have them as a teammate? It’s something I call the Kobe Conundrum – namely if you are an elite at something you do, are good at or like, you only want to be around those other that are elite in order to elicit the best result and appease your inner critic. That’s one of the main things about Kobe and I that will help hone you into becoming an elite, you must learn not to ignore your inner critic. They will often have you thinking you are in bad straits and you are doing something wrong, and this may be good, however, your reaction to it is what must be adapted. You must be able to tap into this inner critic and instead of it getting you into your feelings, it taps into your passion, your obsession, it puts you in that Bravado mindset and aids your already honed and crafted willpower and mind frame into a perspective of “I can do this, I will be elite at it, I will do it and be the best whoever did it and if not I will die trying”.
Kobe has all these things: focus, drive, determination, hard work ethic, and above all a high sense of worth. Some might say it’s an ego, but either way, it drives him to be better than he was the day before. He knows what’s worth his time and what’s not, he knows that to be the best at his craft it’s worth the long hours in the gym beginning at 5-6 AM and not ending until the PM, it’s worth the high-intensity 100% of the time practices, it’s worth the mental training and fighting through all the aches and pains that have accosted him to this day.
Because he knows that when it’s all said and done, and when the history books are dug from the libraries in the future – there’s one name that you will ALWAYS see in the history books and one name you WILL remember.