Kobe Bryant's rise to superstardom is still one of the most fascinating stories to unfold in the NBA. Bryant entered the league as a talented but inexperienced high school star. And by the end of his career, Kobe was known as one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.
Bryant was the son of a basketball player and spent a time of his life growing up in Italy. From there, he returned to the US, where he spent his adolescence in Philadelphia. Eventually, he became one of the most exciting prospects in the high school basketball scene.
Kobe's biggest weapon was his mentality. Bryant would never allow anyone to outdo him in any aspect of the game. Jay Williams revealed that Bryant once practiced for hours before a game, and told him that he wanted to show him that he was willing to work harder than him in order to succeed.
Bryant once shared the secret to his own mindset, and how he uses everything in his environment to motivate him. Even when he was growing up in Italy, he had no friends.
Throughout his career, he used whatever adversity was put in front of him in order to get better. He would never take no for an answer, and would never allow himself to take shortcuts. In the end, Kobe always wanted to be better.
“Growing up in Italy, when I first moved over there, I didn’t speak Italian, I didn’t have any friends. I had the game of basketball, and through sport, through soccer, I was able to make friends and build connections. But it was a lot of time spent alone. When I came back to the states, I wasn’t the most athletic kid. I couldn’t compete with these kids. They’re doing windmills and dunking backwards, and I’m happy to tap the back board. So, I had to look at it from a long term, because I wasn’t going to give up on the game. So, I had to say ‘okay, this year, I’m going to get better at that. Next year, this’. And then so forth and so on. And then patiently I was able to catch them. It’s the consistency of the work. Monday, get better. Tuesday, get better. Wednesday, get better. And you do that over a period of time, not 1 month or 2 months. It’s 3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10 years. And then you get to where you want to go. Obsessiveness comes from something that you love. You really love it, you’ll go through fire for it, you’ll go through the ups and downs with it and you’ll just keep it at it because you love it so much. You make game-winning shots and it’s awesome. You come back the next and miss a game-winning shot and its misery. And then the next day comes and you’re back playing again, and you understand that life has a cyclical nature. Where it’s what you do on Monday it’s fantastic but then Tuesday is a bad day. But guess what? There’s Wednesday. Every day, it’s just constant improvement, constant curiosity, constantly getting better. The results don’t really matter. Look at how you deal with the inner challenges, the self-negotiation that takes place inside of our own heads. You start talking to yourself, ‘man, my knee is really sore right now. Maybe I’m doing too much’. I’m not negotiating myself. The deal was already made. I set out at the beginning of the summer and said ‘this is the training plan I’m doing. I signed that contract with myself, I’m doing it’. A lot of times I’ve seen players, even myself when I was younger being consumed by a particular fear. To the point where you’re saying “Okay, no, it’s not good to feel fear. I shouldn’t be nervous in this situation right now. It does nothing but grow. Emotions come and go, the important thing is to accept them all, to embrace them all. Then you can choose to do with them what you want versus being controlled by emotion. Don’t hide from it, you got to be able to look at it and deal with it head-on… It’s okay to fail because you’re going to be loved no matter what. And that doesn’t just mean basketball. It means anything in life.”
Fans reacted to this video, mostly noting how Kobe's motivation would always help motivate them to conquer the hurdles in their own lives. Bryant was truly an inspiration to so many NBA fans, as they all reacted.
Kobe did not have it easy. He wasn't a particularly big player, by NBA standards at least. But he was very talented. On top of that, he was willing to put in the work and improve his game in a way that very few have shown the initiative to do.
Kobe always worked hard to ensure that he put in a better performance than his previous game. This desire for self-improvement made Kobe one of the most dangerously determined players in the league, as he would put no limits on what he could or couldn't do.