Mamba Mentality

Where were you the day Kobe Bryant died?

Kobe Bryant 1978-2020
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This is yet another one of those questions the world will be asking for many years to come. It may not hold the same weight to you as other National Tragedies, such as 9/11, Oklahoma City Bombing, or any Natural Disasters that have dominated the airways. However, especially if you are a sports fan, whether you were a fan of his or not, you must admit that the News of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death was of the same magnitude of other National Celebrities that have also left us unexpectedly.

 This one really hit home though, as the accident also unfortunately took the life of his daughter Gianna, and the 7 others that were killed in that Horrific Helicopter crash the morning of January 26, 2020 in Calabasas California.

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Well I was exercising in my living room when the news broke. I received the news on my phone, so reading it, I of course had to do a double take. I then quickly turned on the Television to see what was unfolding of this. I of course was shocked, and again was like, “Did that really just happen to Kobe Bryant of all people”?




Sadly, just like all those other Breaking News Moments, lives had indeed been perished as I saw the footage of what was once a Helicopter, shattered down to just debris. It is still so surreal to fathom just a few days later.

Kobe Bryant as you may have all known, played Professional Basketball in the NBA for the Las Angeles Lakers. He was drafted right out of High School. That is unprecedented as only a select few have made the jump straight to the NBA out of High School as well. Besides Kobe, Only Kevin Garnett, and Lebron James come to mind. It is very rare indeed. However, it only goes to show how very talented all three of these men have made a solid career out of it.

Bryant himself, managed to play for 20 seasons. That is 2 decades, and all with the same team, the Las Angeles Lakers as well. That too, is fairly uncommon for any athlete in any sport. But Kobe had a certain swag if you will, about him, that separated himself from the rest of the pack. Midway through his career he gave himself a nickname, The Black Mamba, and with it, he developed what he liked to call a Mamba Mentality.

This all stemmed from an alleged rape charge that Kobe Bryant was accused of early in his career but was later dropped as the accuser never appeared in court. Kobe and his accuser would eventually settle and go about their separate ways, which would only light a fire inside Kobe to then develop the Black Mamba alter ego as he discussed in this interview with CNN. He simply just wanted to ditch the old Kobe for a new and improved, more relentless, and intimidating one. I like how he used the example:

Would you either want David Banner, or the Hulk

A quote from Kobe Bryant on Developing the Mamba Mentality
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Perhaps this is also why he changed his jersey number from 8 to 24, both of which were retired by the way. Yet another magnificent feat. The one in which he holds alone as no other athlete in history has had two numbers retired, and by the same team for that matter. After the news of his death has already been speculated of like Baseball’s late great Jackie Robinsons #42, no one will ever again dawn the #24 jersey on any team whatsoever in the NBA.

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Kobe won 5 NBA Championships in his illustrious career, also being named to the All-Star Team 18 times of his 20-year career, all while remarkably winning 2 Gold Medals with the USA Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. Three of the five championships came early in his career whom many didn’t give Kobe much credit for since he was aided by another superstar in Shaquille O’Neal. However, the Lakers organization later would decide to trade away Shaq and run with the younger prodigy in which then became Kobe’s team. This too would spark Kobe to unleash the Black Mamba to show that he can win championships on his own.

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What we all had seen from Kobe on Television was of a venomous persona on the Basketball court. It seemed as if Kobe may have been a boastful, egotistical, arrogant, player on the court, which I suppose is understandable if you only want to be the best athlete on the floor. You must be Ruthless, and Relentless, when you are in the moment. Though to us spectators, it may have come off as rude and cruel, what we have all come to have found out is that it could be further from the Truth. He was Bold, Brave, and fearless.

While the old Kobe who wore #8 may have seemed slightly immature, the new Black Mamba #24 persona only humbled him even more.

If you see me in a fight with a Bear, Pray for the Bear. That’s Mamba Mentality

Kobe on what Mamba Mentality means

All Kobe ever wanted to do was win, and continue winning despite what critics said, along with that woman who accused him of something terrible that almost cost him his career in the NBA. Kobe became an even more fierce, Relentless competitor on the court, and even off it as well. It suddenly wasn’t all just about a Persona while playing, but he wanted people to know that he had an overall Mamba Mentality.

You see, what I have learned is that the Mamba Mentality is something that takes great courage to obtain, because though a Mamba snake is known to be dangerous, it is also very skillful in its craft. It takes chances and attempts things where not a whole lot of others will. It will carefully examine, study, and practice its attack methods until it becomes great at it.

And it is in those attempts that it is not afraid to fail, as it has no fear. This is what it means to be Relentless, to be a champion. To always strive to be the best at whatever it is you do, while also showing others closest to you the tricks of the trade. It is the willingness to put in the work no matter what the cost. Mamba’s can see the victory in all things. They may not know how or what will have to happen to get to the finish line, but they will stop at nothing to get there.Putting themselves in the moment. Kobe instilled this mentality in everything he did, on and off the court.

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The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win

A quote from Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant intimidated people with his skillful talent, though it was not all a bullish type of intimidation. It was his type of play that branded a winning mindset, not just on the court, but in life as well. Kobe played with a chest out, head up, can do attitude, and he was going win even if it meant he had to go right through you. His game was not meant to just leave you hanging high and dry, but he had a killer cross over that would leave even the faint of heart curious.

Another unique trait that he had was that he never bragged or boasted out loud about his Super Star status. All he ever wanted to do was keep getting better and better, as he never was satisfied. He wanted to make things better around him too, even if it meant improving the things that were in his path, including people.

Whether you loved him or hated him, Kobe developed a mantra for a successful life, that all of us should strive to live for regardless of our circumstances.

Why do I succeed?

I succeed because I am willing to do the things you are not. I will fight against the odds. I will sacrifice. I am not shackled by fear, insecurity or doubt. I feel those emotions–drink them in, and then swallow them away to the blackness of hell. I am motivated by accomplishment, not pride. Pride consumes the weak–kills their heart from within. If I fall, I will get up. If I am beaten, I will return. I will never stop getting better. I will never give up, ever.

That is why I succeed

A quote from Kobe Bryant

Like a Mamba snake, Kobe had a killer instinct, but it wasn’t to murder and leave for dead. His instinct was to put to death the false reality that when faced with dangerous opposition and hurdles, he can endure it, persevere, and survive any attack, no matter what.

Kobe Bryant left a long-lasting legacy that will be cherished forever, but Kobe Bryant the person, along with his adopted spirit of the Mamba Mentality is something that should live on forever. People will always try to imitate his game, but more importantly, will they imitate this mentality he had, to a point in which it becomes an overall character trait of their own?

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The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do

Kobe Bryant

There is a version of the Mamba Mentality inside all of us. That of course is not to say that we are all like Kobe, we can never be Kobe Bryant, but as long as you believe it in your heart, you can find the same Bold, Courageous, Fearless Enduring, Persistent approach that the Kobe’s Mamba Mentality stood for, and overcome anything in our way for the sake of our own salvation.

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