For all of us, the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter and seven others, is unthinkable. And yet, at the top of our collective consciousness is the rise of Kobe’s legacy.
Beyond his accomplishments (legendary 20-year NBA career, Olympic medals, best-selling books, and Oscar-winning movie) — which proves one more time that Gen Xers are so not slackers — Kobe’s “Mamba Mentality” elevates him to the role of a modern sage.
And now Kobe leaves it to us as not just a way to light up a court, but also as a mindset to spark the fire necessary to live with passion and purpose.
Play the inner game
While Kobe famously played through physical setbacks, including broken bones and a ruptured Achilles, the hard work was equally about mental discipline. He relied on micromastery, focusing on building skills within skills. And he thrived on systematic, routinized practice powered by the drive to “kill” his opponents.
From a psychological standpoint, this approach creates neurological changes in your brain that bust complacency and boost the drive to reach new heights. Just be careful to go with the flow and not overthink, as Kobe noted:
We psyche ourselves up too much. Like if you try to talk yourself into, ‘Oh, this is a big moment, this is a big shot,’ you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. You shot that shot hundreds and thousands of times. Just shoot another one.
Make every move matter
Playing it safe is for amateurs; the Mamba Mentality is about taking risks and embracing failure. Kobe made that seem easy, but behind the scenes, he made sure to back every play.
Early words from his father — “Whether you score zero points or 60 I’m going to love you no matter what” — bolstered his confidence on the court. And when he pivoted to become a world-class storyteller, it’s reported he sought out the likes of J.K. Rowling and JJ Abrams.
This is not to say that the Mamba Mentality is about taking; it's about putting your energy out into the world to do good. The lasting shots of Kobe aren’t just of his signature fadeaway jumper, but of him coaching girls basketball.
In the end, the Mamba Mentality is about prioritizing your passions. And about keeping going, as we say so often at Further, and Kobe affirmed:
Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile, and just keep on rolling.
The Mamba Mentality: Peak performance lessons from Kobe Bryant (Psychology Today)