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Beyond the Basket: Life Lessons Learned from Kobe


Mon, June 03

The Legend Himself

He's a guard, author, Academy Award-winning producer, Hall of Famer, and an overall NBA legend. We know this man as Kobe Bryant, and he has taught us some important life lessons outside of basketball. So, if you want to be successful and win the game of life, this is your key.

If you still don't know who Kobe Bryant is, you must be living under a rock—a very thick, soundproof rock. Kobe is a basketball icon and legend. He has won five NBA championships and many more impressive titles.

Some Background

Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia but spent many years growing up in Italy. He started playing basketball at three years old and was an avid soccer and basketball player. Growing up, Kobe's favorite basketball team was the Lakers. When Kobe was 6, his father retired from the NBA, and they all moved to Reti so he could continue playing professional basketball.

Upon returning to Philadelphia in 1991, he joined the Lower Merion High School basketball team. In his time playing for the team, he led them to state championships for four years. He wasn't just about basketball; he had good grades and SAT scores, but he decided to declare himself eligible for the 1996 NBA draft instead of attending college.

He was then picked 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets right out of high school. Kobe was one of the first guards drafted to the NBA out of high school. Two weeks later, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The “Mamba Mentality”

Kobe sums up this mentality as being able to constantly try to be the very best version of yourself. It's your goal to become better than you were yesterday. This is the mindset that anyone can use, athlete or not.

This is a lifestyle, an approach. It's about putting everything you have into whatever you want without fear or doubt. It's about focus and determination. Everything worth having requires work.

When there's a challenge, there's an opportunity

We all know that Kobe built the whole Lakers franchise on his back, but how did he do it? Like Michael Jordan, he succeeded because of his sheer will and hard work.

At 13 years old, Kobe decided that he would become one of the best players of all time; he was dead set on it. He said his inspiration came from the love of the game and the challenge. This decision significantly impacted the rest of his career, and his insane work ethic started at a young age.

Basketball became his priority, his focus. From 3 am practices and hours on the court practicing, he slowly built up his legacy. With anything you do, know that a challenge is a chance to become stronger and better. Everyone needs a challenge and some pressure to grow.

Sometimes, you need to focus on you

Kobe didn't have too many friends because his dedication to the game was stronger than that of the other members of his team. He was so dedicated to his workout regimen and becoming the best of the best that friends came second. He became invested in what he wanted, making sacrifices to become a better player, and they all paid off.

You might drift away from some people when you are as focused and driven as he was. Not everyone can understand the Mamba Mentality, and it isn't easy for everyone to understand. The ones who truly understand his mentality are driven and care about what they want to do. When you focus on your goals, you can do whatever your heart desires.

Push through the most challenging parts of your life! Don't hold back!

Kobe's grit was highlighted in the iconic April 2013 Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors game when he tore his Achilles tendon. This is an incredibly painful injury, and how he responded to it was impressive.

He used all of his strength to limp to the free-throw line. He then proceeded to make the final two shots that declared the Lakers the winners of the game.

Other people may have hobbled off the court and taken the loss, but not Kobe. This anecdote shows us that even when you don't think you can make it, sometimes you just have to push through. You never know when your last opportunity will be; pushing yourself can do so much for you and others. It helped the Lakers win 118-116 just because Kobe pushed himself to make those final two shots.

Another wonderful example is that Kobe once played an NBA game with a 100-degree fever. He played the full game, and you would have never been able to tell he had a fever. There will be moments in your life where you feel like giving up but don't. If you do, you might miss something big.

Hard work and success go together

Kobe is known for his work ethic and "Mamba Mentality," which is one of the reasons he is so inspirational to generation after generation. He puts hours of work into the basketball game so he won't get beaten by his competition. His workout routine is a perfect example of this.

Every day, he would do two hours of track, two hours of basketball, and another two hours of cardio or weightlifting. Kobe was committed! He consistently put in the work, and it paid off big time.

The more honest hard work you put in, the greater your success will be. So keep working hard, and the payoff will be huge.

Don't make excuses

Kobe once said: "I have nothing in common with lazy people, who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses!"

A perfect example of this was when Kobe played a whole game left-handed when a torn rotator cuff kept him from playing righty. He could have easily decided to sit out, but he didn't. He could have used his left hand as an excuse and said he couldn't play because of his left hand.

Instead, he got up and finished the job. Another life lesson that he showed us is to be prepared. Expect the unexpected. Practice the things you struggle with, even if the chances are slim that you'll ever have to do them. Kobe practiced left, which helped him in this game. This game wouldn't be iconic Without the skill he was constantly working at.

That is a lesson for all of us: we can't make excuses when we fall short of our goal or when a roadblock stops us from moving forward smoothly. Excuses will do nothing for you. You will remain in the same spot you were in before.

So why make them? The time we take to make excuses is when we learn from our mistakes and figure out how to do better next time. Making excuses is a huge waste of time and makes you look foolish. Blaming others for your lack of success is petty. No one can contribute to your success but you. You decide whether to put the work in; only you know what you are doing, and it's not solely on someone else if it goes wrong.


We can remember so many things about Kobe; he has taught us many lessons about basketball and life. Hopefully, these lessons will help you succeed in your field, friends, and life. Adopt his mentality, and you will succeed.

Precious Simpson
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Writer since May, 2024 · 28 published articles

Precious is a high school junior in New England who likes to read and write in her spare time. She enjoys baking cupcakes. She enjoys watching the Gilmore Girls and The Summer I Turned Pretty. Precious is a writer for her school newspaper and an Executive Assistant Editor. Precious also works as an Editor for her school yearbook as well.