A Dedication to Kobe Bryant

Photo by Derek Owens on Unsplash

January 1, 2020, marked the start of the new decade filled with new energy and aspirations. I brought in the new year in Bali having arrived five and half months before.

By this point I was just two weeks away from writing my first book, which I was inspired to write after watching my idol Kobe Bryant pen the Wizenard series.

Then 10 days after my book was complete, Kobe died.

Kobe Bryant is dead?! How? Why? Wait, What?

Growing up a Kobe fan there were hundreds of Kobe — Lebron debates, so naturally there was a underlining dislike of Lebron.

As my mindset matured, I realised there can be multiple great players and to spend time arguing over who is #1 is foolish.

However, to hear that Kobe died right after Lebron passed him on the all-time scoring list (in Kobe’s hometown of Philadelphia, with a snake on the court) was devastating for me to say the least.

I was in Perth, Australia, when I got the news, which is where I happened to be the last time I watched an NBA game. That game was the last time Kobe laced up and went out the only way the G.O.A.T. could, by scored 60 points vs the Utah Jazz.

This was the perfect opponent for Kobe to end his career against because his first year in the NBA is most remembered for his infamous “airball” game.
In the 1997 playoffs, the Lakers lost the Western Conference Semi-finals to the Utah Jazz 4 games to 1. However, the reason it was known as the “airball” game is that in the final game of the series Kobe shot four airballs in the final five minutes of a close game.

He later alluded to the fact that his biggest take away from that game was that all the shots were on line, but just short. From that point forward he knew he had to spend the entire summer in the weight room to get stronger — that is when the Mamba Mentality was born.

Fast forward 20 seasons and he ends his career dropping 60 points on Utah, stopping them from making the play-offs, payback.

That relentless drive is what inspired me to follow his every move.
When he died, I felt like a plug was pulled and I was in a state of shock for about eight hours. The only other Kobe news that shocked me, was when he scored 81 points vs the Toronto Raptors.

It wasn’t until I allowed myself to feel my emotions that I cried and released the energy. After the release, I began to realise how much information I downloaded in my mind over the years from observing the Mamba Mentality from afar.

My favourite movie of all-time is the Matrix and it’s similar to the scene when Neo is aboard the Nebuchadnezzar and Tank uploads every form of Martial Arts to Neo’s conciseness.

Except for me the program I chose to download from a very young age was Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality.

After successfully following my dream of becoming a professional basketball player, I realised I chose the right person to follow.

However, in the midst of my career, Kobe Bryant left the game of basketball, so I decided to double down and observe Kobe even more to see if this program/mindset would also lead to success of the court.

After he had retired, it didn’t take long to realise the Mamba Mentality can actually be applied more efficiently off the court because the main obstacle on the court of incurring an injury was no longer present.

Watching his investment in Body Armour where he was able to turn a $6 million investment into $200 million was the only proof I needed to see on the business front.

Kobe also displayed its force in the world of creativity, by winning an Academy Award for his animated short Dear Basketball. He followed that up by creating Granity Studios, where he released an animated series called The Punies, as well as releasing 3 books called The Wizenard Series.

This decision was validated in a way when my close friend Henry Utku was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days with Kobe in 2017 at a basketball clinic in Pairs. Henry messaged me and said when Kobe was speaking it reminded him of me and that I was the only person he knew who actually embodied the Mamba Mentality.

Wow. The flame within was already lit, but that provided such a huge spark internally.

Following Kobe as best I could has led me to directing and featuring in my own visual based on my first book titled The 13 Principles of Love, as well as creating and writing the script for an original animation series called Gate 9 Seven. However, I am most proud of Perth Mind, which is a mental fitness training program I created based on my downloads.

Thank you Kobe. The Mamba Mentality will live on forever!