It’s easy to love the athlete when he’s winning titles, destroying opponents and making world class defenders look like varsity players. It’s easy to love him when he’s draining game-winning shots over D. Wade, baptizing Dwight Howard, posterizing Steve Nash, draining rainbow fadeaways over King James. It’s easy when he’s dropping 81 points in a single game or dropping dimes to Shaq to win championships. It’s also pretty easy to hate him for those same reasons.
Many might think my love Kobe is based on these fond memories, which is true to an extent. But it’s much more than that. The truth is, I studied Kobe’s game, I watched how he prepared. I was in awe of how he enjoyed the process of improving and how much his passion drove him to be the best. His competitive fire and his will to win is unmatched. Most importantly, I love how he recognized his weakness as a leader and worked on it. If Kobe hadn’t worked on being a better leader, he wouldn’t have won his final two championships. That’s something I’m working on—learning that not everyone is wired the way I am. Different things motivate people differently.
Kobe came into the league with one mission—to win championships. He told the world what he wanted to do, and then went out and did it. He is a man of his word. He put in the work, he enjoyed the process.
If Kobe just came into the league and relied on just his talent, he would’ve been an average player. He would have kept shooting those air balls he shot his rookie year. His talent wasn’t enough. He wasn’t satisfied with being average. Most of what you saw him do on the court was based on hard work.
That, my friends, is why I love Kobe Bryant. So whether you love him or hate him, I just want you to take one thing away from his amazing 20 year career: Let’s all do what we love and not be satisfied with just getting by with minimum effort. Work hard and strive to be the best at whatever you do. Strive for greatness.
Thank you for inspiring a young man from Ghana. #mambaday #KobeBryant