Tuesday, February 4, 2020
A Tribute To Kobe Bryant And The Lessons Learned From His Life
Image Source: Business Insider
Kobe Bryant. 18 time NBA All-Star. 5 time NBA Champion. 2 time NBA Finals MVP. 2 time Olympic gold medalist. Businessman. Author. Producer. Philanthropist. Father. Husband. Brother. Man of faith. And last, but not least, a role model that touched the lives of so many, even those of us that he never met, including yours truly.
For those that don't follow me on Twitter, I recently tweeted about the personal impact that Kobe had on my life beginning on the basketball court. Like countless other youth that have been inspired over the years by Kobe, I proudly wore the number 24 when I played basketball.
As I indicated in my January 2020 Dividend Stock Purchases post last week shortly following the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gigi and 7 others, I wanted to take the opportunity this week to honor none other than the Black Mamba and highlight a few key life lessons that translate on and off the basketball court.
Before I get into the life lessons that Kobe indirectly taught me and so many others, I just wanted to take a moment to personally discuss the highlight of Kobe's career that amazed me the most.
As a bit of context, I have been a fan of NBA basketball in general since I was 6 years old (too bad because I missed out on the 2000-2001 Milwaukee Bucks that were the best Bucks team in my life until the past year and a half).
As such, I vividly remember the evening of January 22, 2006, when the Los Angeles Lakers played against the Toronto Raptors and were trailing by 14 points at the half, with Kobe carrying the offensive load, scoring 26 points in the first half.
Just when it seemed as though the hope of a Lakers victory was lost, Kobe erupted in the second half with 55 points, bringing his scoring total to 81 on the night. The Lakers would go on to stage a tremendous comeback and win the game 122-104 as a result of Kobe's incredible all around performance, where he finished with a +25 plus-minus.
While he fell 19 points short of tying Wilt Chamberlain's record of 100 points set in 1962, I would argue that Kobe's 81 is just as impressive as Wilt's 100 for the simple reason that Kobe needed only 42 minutes to score his 81, whereas Wilt needed 48 minutes. Kobe's 81 points also accounted for more of his team's total points (66.4%) than Wilt's 100 (59.2%).
Lesson #1: Never Sell Yourself Short
Among the many things that I find to be remarkable about Kobe's life, the one thing that really sticks out to me is when he discussed how he had a meeting with his guidance counselor when he was 10 years old.
Somehow, this guidance counselor had entirely dismissed the fact that Kobe was absolutely obsessed with basketball and that basketball was literally in Kobe's genetics, with his father being an NBA player for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers, and Houston Rockets.
This guidance counselor had asked Kobe what he wanted to be when he grew up, to which Kobe replied, he wanted to be an NBA player. The guidance counselor then replied, "You know, that's not very realistic."
Many of us have dreams that we eventually give up on after we are told that we'll never be able to accomplish them and that they're "not realistic," but Kobe did himself a favor and didn't sell himself and his potential short.
As if Kobe needed any more motivation to make his dream come true, this stuck with him and motivated him to put in the work necessary to make his dream a reality, which leads me into the next lesson that Kobe taught me and so many others.
Lesson #2: Don't Be Afraid Of Dreaming...Or Hard Work
I always find it admirable when somebody recalls knowing from such a young age what they wanted to accomplish, and then years later, they eventually accomplish it.
However, I think it can sometimes be easy to forget that dreams don't just happen.
Sure, Kobe had the physical characteristics and the upbringing of basketball and that played a role in his arrival to the NBA and eventual superstardom, but physical characteristics and a basketball background can only take a player so far.
Not much even needs to be said when there are countless examples of Kobe's work ethic in articles across the internet, but one of the most striking examples of Kobe's work ethic in action is evidenced by the fact that according to a Team USA trainer, Kobe held a gym workout from 4:15 am to 11:00 am, and refused to leave the gym until he made 800 shots.
When a guy is so committed, competitive, and willing to improve his game that he won't even leave the gym until he makes (not takes!) 800 shots, that is a prime example that Kobe's work ethic was second to none.
When you find your passion like Kobe did with basketball, the real lesson is to continue to put in the work. There will be days that you don't always feel like putting in the work, but you need to do it anyway if you want to be the best you possibly can be.
Lesson #3: Live Every Day Like It's Your Last
As much as Kobe accomplished in his 41 years on Earth, it's still a bit hard to believe that it can all end just like that.
It sometimes comes as difficult to believe for me being only 22 years of age and not really having to endure any deaths of immediate family members in my life to date (especially such sudden deaths like Kobe and those on board his helicopter), but if someone as legendary as Kobe can have their life cut short in an instant, it really can happen to anyone.
Kobe's recent passing was really an eye opener to me that in the end, no matter what our accolades, we're all human and we're all bound to leave this Earth at some point.
This just gives us all the more reason to find our passion and to pursue it with everything we have. Life is too short to be spending your disposable income and hours of your life on a bunch of consumer crap that doesn't really improve your quality of life and only makes you a captive to a job that you don't particularly enjoy or find real meaning and value in as a human being.
If Kobe's life taught us anything, you're the only one that can truly know what you are capable of. You should never let anyone tell you what you are capable of for that very reason.
However, your dreams will never come true unless you're willing to put in a sustained, maximal effort. When you want to accomplish your goals as badly as you want to breathe, you put yourself in a position to succeed.
Perhaps it's my age and my lack of having to endure such sudden and untimely deaths in my family, but it still seems a bit unreal that someone can be perfectly fine one day and so gracious as Kobe was in congratulating Lebron in passing him in career points, and be gone the next.
Kobe's passing really serves as a lesson in my case or a reminder to others that life here on Earth can end in a split second, so we really need to live each day like it's our last, because one day, it will be our last.
What life lessons did you learn from Kobe? What was your favorite moment in Kobe's basketball career?
As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments that you may leave in the comment section below.