Apart from the grace he brought onto the basketball court, the Black Mamba was indeed was of the most articulate superstars in all of basketball.
The media adored Bryant since he always carried himself in an eloquent manner. His prowess with words was best captured in his poem “Dear Basketball”, which went on to win an Academy Award in 2017.
Bryant was pretty much a quote machine during his 20-year NBA career. His wisdom about the game of basketball was unparalleled, while his outlook in life was truly admirable.
Here are 10 of Bryant’s most inspiring quotes of all time.
1. On winning at all cost:
“Winning takes precedence overall. There’s no gray area. No almosts.”
— This is probably the most Kobe quote of them all. Aside from being one of the most talented players in history, Bryant was also arguably the most driven to win. This cerebral mindset definitely pushed Bryant to claim a total of five NBA titles in seven Finals trips.
2. On playing hurt
“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury — unless it’s completely debilitating — I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming.”
— Bryant was indeed a true ironman of the sport. The 18-time All-Star overcame a total of 22 recorded injuries throughout his career. He played through broken ligaments on his fingers, a torn rotator cuff, and even sunk two free-throws before leaving the game with a torn Achilles.
3. On laziness:
“I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.”
— Kobe feuded with a lot of his teammates who didn’t share his fevered work ethic. He put in a lot of time and effort to achieve the level of success he had and he demanded his team to adhere to those standards.
4. On his influence
— Those who built relationships with Bryant can attest to how enlightening he can be. Even upon retirement, he willingly lent his aid to superstars of this era by helping them improve their game.
5. On setbacks
“Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success.”
— The most “Jordan” thing about Kobe was his ability to use setbacks as fuel to make him better. Bryant certainly did not need extra motivation but knew just how to dig deep to achieve his goals.
6. On resiliency
“The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win.”
— Kobe was never the type to waive the white flag. Sure, he also endured a lot of losses over his career, but he never went down without a fight.
7. On his alter ego
“I create my own path. It was straight and narrow. I looked at it this way: you were either in my way, or out of it. If you were standing between me and the game, I was going to knock you on your back and not feel bad about it. I was unapologetically me. That’s all I ever wanted to be. I was never worried about my reputation – that’s how I earned one. That’s how I became the Black Mamba.”
— While his monicker was self-appointed, it was indeed fitting of Bryant’s personality. Bryant overcame a lot of adversity in his early years to become the icon that he is now. He marched to the beat of his own drum and never looked back.
8. On his legacy:
“It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you – or don’t. So don’t take it lightly. If you do it right, your game will live on in others. You’ll be imitated and emulated by those you played with, those you played against and those who never saw you play at all. So leave everything on the court. Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.”
—From day one, it was evident that Bryant was cut from a different cloth. Greatness seemed inevitable. It was just a matter of when he’ll achieve it.
9. On retirement:
“There is beauty in that. I mean, it’s going through the cycle. I mean, it’s the cycle that is the natural progression of growth, of maturation. I mean, there’s no sadness in that … I see the beauty in not being able to blow past defenders anymore, you know what I mean? I see the beauty in getting up in the morning and being in pain because I know all the hard work that it took to get to this point. So, I’m not, I’m not sad about it. I’m very appreciative of what I’ve had.”
— Like all good things, Bryant knew when it was time to let go. He willed his body to overcame injuries but understood that even he has limits.
10. On being a parent:
“Use your success, wealth, and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.”
— The reason Bryant was so at peace when he stepped away from the game was because of his desire to be with his family. As the world knew before his death, Bryant was a great husband to Vanessa and an even more terrific father to his four beautiful daughters Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri.