Kobe Bryant, also known as the Black Mamba (a deadly, venomous snake from Africa), has had a wealth of success in the National Basketball Association. He is a 5 time NBA Champion, 2 time Finals MVP, 1 time regular season MVP, and 17 time All-Star.
By 2016, Kobe will have made $328,238,062 just from his salaries with the Los Angeles Lakers. This figure does not include endorsements, investments, or other assets made during his basketball career.
I always find the person’s journey to success more captivating than them standing at the top of the mountain. So, what made Kobe so successful? And how did he get to the point where he is considered one of the best basketball players of all-time?
Then, after we answer these questions about Kobe, we are going to apply what we learned to your situation in college.
Key Insights From Kobe
Bryant’s mental focus and preparation are unmatched, bar none. It’s often said, that when you get to the NBA, most players are not far apart in height, strength, or quickness, but it’s their preparation, focus, and basketball awareness that sets elite players above the rest. Kobe has been a prime example of the belief that mental toughness is what propels athletes above their peers.
Bryant was able to focus solely on one subject—basketball—and give it his all because he determined what he wanted at a young age. Kobe’s dad, Joe Bryant, played professional basketball in the NBA and in Italy. Many times Kobe had said that he wanted to be like his dad and play professional basketball. Once he set his mind on that, he didn’t let anything else get in the way. For example, he talks about his obsession to win another championship,
This quote is one of hundreds where Kobe lets the public into his mindset—which is stopping at nothing to achieve his goals, at that point an NBA title. He believed that failure wasn’t an option, and used this to inspire his drive to win.
Many people forget that Kobe came from high school to the NBA. He could have played in college, where he probably would have been the best player in the NCAA and lived a very comfortable college-lifestyle. Instead, Kobe Bryant decided to test himself at age 18 and play in the NBA, where he was not close to being a top player and definitely wasn’t as comfortable. This decision is significant because it displays that he didn’t let the fear of failure stop him from accomplishing his dreams.
By going to the NBA out of high school, he took a risk. But, he decided to bet on himself and hit the learning curve as soon as he could, because he knew that this was necessary for his future success. When Kobe was finally playing against his peers, years later in the NBA, he had a major advantage because he already gained three to four seasons of NBA experience under his belt.
Kobe, like everyone in the world, did face trials along the way to his success. In one specific example, Bryant played out the 2010 season and playoffs with a severely injured right index finger (on his shooting hand). This article even went on to say at the time that he has the index finger of an 83-year-old man.
Instead of letting an injury ruin Bryant’s season, he responded by overcoming it through sheer willpower to lead the Lakers to another World Championship in 2010. Bryant used this struggle to build onto his legacy.
Application To College Students
Taking insights from Kobe Bryant can improve your experience in and after college. First, if you can learn to focus when it is required, then you will be more productive than your peers, and make more time to do what you enjoy. For example, when you have an upcoming exam, focusing for two to three hours a day a week in advance will get you better grades and more free time. Plus, intensely focusing for a couple of hours will save you a week’s worth of anxiety about the exam.
Second, Kobe chose to master basketball and then he went all out practicing, studying, and innovating ways to become better. Just like Bryant didn’t try to master basketball and football (because it would be impossible), you shouldn’t try to master Accounting and Chemistry. Instead, chose one field to focus all your energy and become an expert. This way you can go 100 times further than if you split your time equally between two fields.
Kobe could have decided to take it easy and play basketball in college, where he would dominate and have more time to relax. But, he decided to take a harder, unknown feat and do the best he could. So, if you want to improve, go do something that you’ve considered but decided it wasn’t worth your time because you might fail. Will Rogers visualized the beauty of taking a chance as he said, “You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.” And even if you fail, you now have that experience in your pocket for the next activity you attempt.
Lastly, Kobe has struggled with injuries throughout his career. But, he didn’t let that struggle ruin his shot at glory previously and especially in 2010. Instead, he used his mental focus to overcome the injury. So, next time you get a bad grade, don’t give up. Try a different strategy and focus harder in the class. If you’re having a hard time finding summer work, then come at it with a different perspective.
After reading this post, I want you to:
- Reflect and determine your career goal (what you want to master).
- Prepare to succeed by first understanding what you need to do, and then focus to accomplish these smaller goals to reach your ultimate goal.
- Do one thing that you wouldn’t normally do because you’re scared you might fail. Examples include: starting a major project, reaching out to someone new, and calling or visiting a company to discuss your application to intern or work full-time instead of sending an email.
And next time you’re lacking energy or focus to accomplish your goals, remember to ask yourself: what would Kobe do?