Kobe Bryant: Reflections Of The Mamba Mentality

Graphic Credit: Robert Jager
OKC, OK April, 11 (The Oklahoma Post) –

Kobe Bryant was much more than an eighteen-time all-star or a five-time NBA champion, he was obsessed with discipline and winning; unselfishly. Kobe Bryant wasn’t without fault. However, Bryant was obsessed with the processes of molding raw material into gold nuggets of greatness and sharing those secrets. This obsession was a tangible asset that Bryant shared with others throughout his career. Not just on the court.

I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my game, but I also wasn’t willing to to sacrifice my family time. So I decided to sacrifice sleep, and that was that.”

-Kobe Bryant in The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

According to Bryant, in a 2013 Open Letter following an Achilles injury, he calls his tenacity the Mamba Mentality, he goes on to say, “if you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear.” A fight with a bear. Showing the world a glimpse into his mindset. His character was refined through trial and exampled with spoken word this time as he couldn’t yet display Mamba Mentality on the hardwood.

Those words define the legacy Kobe left behind when he was taken too early in life.

Mamba Mentality: crossing the halfcourt line, with the ball in hand, gliding down the court like a gazelle, and powerfully dunking on an all-star opponent;

or swiftly poisoning you with a dizzying crossover leading into a highly released jump shot, painfully swishing silently as an owl swooping overhead, just.. at… the… buzzer. Your choice.

Kobe came into the league during the 1996-1997 season, right as the digital age was taking its place in the NBA. The year before the Mamba entered the league, NBA.com was launched to get the game of basketball into the homes of places like China and other countries. The NBA was in desperate need of a new face for the ever-evolving league with Micheal Jordan being out of his prime.

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The digital era helped jump-start Mamba into homes across the world. Fighting bears, introducing kids to the game, introducing the world to his tenacity. Kobe, because of the digital era matched with his game, did more than any other North American player to fill the hole left by MJ not being what he once was.

Bryant soon became the face of the NBA In China when he partnered with the company in 2013.

He was active in the WNBA as well as the international game. Bryant dominated the league with his all-around game of passing shooting and playing defense. His play would encourage more foreigners to take interest in the game of basketball. Joel Embiid who was drafted to the NBA in 2014 is a native of Cameroon. He said after watching the 2010 NBA Finals with Kobe he started to play basketball, going on to say, “I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point in my life.” Kobe was an idol for a generation of international players.

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai expressed in a statement released on Twitter how saddened he was by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant,

“an inspiration for many and a legend of his generation, he will always be remembered for his contribution to the world of sport and #ChinaUS people to people exchanges. My deepest condolences to his family and other victims.”

Kobe Bryant inspired countless kids around the globe to live by the Mamba Mentality. There are a handful of young ballplayers at the “House of Kobe” basketball courts in the Philippines early, shooting jumpers with images of the Black Mamba plastered on the walls.

Kobe’s influence is much more than just the court, as he was one of Nike’s biggest personalities, it was not rare to see him have the highest sales of jerseys and shoes…and books.

Those combined character traits are what made Bryant one of the most polarizing but also influential players not only in his era but in the historic bounds of basketball. Kobe wrote about his ethos of the game in The Mamba Mentality: How I Play available in stores across the country.

Whether it was Bryant’s childhood European background or running with the technology that was starting to evolve that enabled Kobe to capture the hearts of so many from so many separate places around the world. One thing that was a constant in everything Kobe did, was his competitiveness was unmatched.

The Mamba Mentality takes a certain level of heart and loyalty. One cannot just simply jump ship when things get tough, or they are not going as planned. Every part of one’s life should be attacked with the Mamba Mentality.

I want to win at everything I do in life, if that means I must get up earlier than the next guy, so be it. I will work harder than the next person as my life is my craft. Everything I approach in life will dictate whether that area in my life is considered a success or not.

Graphic Credit: Robert Jager

In a Jan 2021 article by Noah Camras, 5 Ways Kobe Changed The World Forever, the Mamba Mentality is “looking at one’s shortcomings or fears, and approaching them head-on.” Camras goes on to say that “Kobes Mamba Mentality has changed the way in which athletes, as well as non-athletes approach their craft.” I can personally say that adopting a Mamba Mentality is true in my life, as I approach my writing, my podcasting, and the way I approach my responsibility.

Even though Kobe is no longer with us, his incomparable impact on people from all backgrounds will never be forgotten. The Mamba Mentality ensured a lasting legacy that was left behind by Kobe Bryant. A legacy that changed the world, making it a better place.

From Dirk to Embiid to Giannis and all the current greats; must look up and say Thank You, Kobe. Thank you for loving the game so much, giving so much of yourself to the game that young men like Dirk and Giannis picked up a basketball!

(Writing by Robert Jager; Editing by Robbie Robertson)

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