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Kobe Bryant
By Chris Hislop // Published on Jan 27, 2020

The Legacy of Kobe Bryant

No matter what side of the line you’re on as it relates to Kobe Bryant, one thing you can’t dispute is the work ethic the man had and his unrelenting drive to be the absolute best player he could be on the basketball court. The so-called “Mamba Mentality” was very real. It’s that sort of mentality that you can take and apply to many pieces of life. Today, with respect to the passing of Kobe Bryant – we’ll take a look at 8 inspirational passages that came out of the man’s mouth that can (and should) ignite your approach to business and the inherent marketing approach that falls very much in line with that “all or nothing” mindset.

“Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success.”

This is important. In business, the most successful people weren’t a success right out of the gate. In fact, nearly all of them will tell you that they failed at some point on their journey, which is a working piece of their narrative and set them up for future decisions and ideas that ultimately worked out for the better in the end. When you fail, you realign your vision to the ultimate prize. Get after it.

“I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.”

To piggyback off of that last one for a moment: reflect with purpose. When you fail, don’t sit around sulking and give in to the failure you’re faced with. Be like Kobe Bryant and get yourself back up. Hit the whiteboard with a vengeance (not literally, please…) and write down the key takeaways that led to things not working out. These are important studies and, with some planning, can be the pillar you need to set the foundation for successful forward progress.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.”

Wear many hats. In polling those that have come before you and have proven themselves a success, you’re often going to hear (more often than not) that the path to said success came from playing many roles at the outset. This is invaluable because, while we all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to have some perspective on the different pieces and parts that make your business function. Sure, it’s important to hire people that can do a specific task better than you, but, truth-be-told, that might not be possible when you’re starting out. So keep that hat rack close – you’re bound to fill it up quick… Don’t be afraid of those different roles.

What does that look like for me?

A lot goes into winning. Kobe Bryant knew that better than anyone. It’s never the person in front of the camera taking the big shot that got you to that position in the first place. It takes a team. Someone got that shooter the ball to hoist that shot. Think about it.

“The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.”

Expounding upon that aforementioned sentiment – a team achieves greatness by coming together as one and forging an insurmountable bond. Let your team know that you appreciate their efforts – that you appreciate all the work they’re doing to better the end result – on and off the court (in and away from the “office”). When the team is tight, has a sense of purpose, and is collectively working towards a common goal, victory is imminent if the skills and dedication are in place. Put the people in position that give you best shot at success, and make sure those people know that you’re right there with them until the final buzzer sounds – through thick and through thin.

“Dedication sees dreams come true.”

Dreams are one thing. Working to fulfill those dreams and make them reality is a whole different ballgame entirely. Where do you get started? Decide to go after something and do it. Dedicate your entire being to that effort at the expense of whatever else may get in the lane on your quest to the hoop. Practice, practice, practice – and make sure your team is right there with you. The inherent X’s and O’s will make all the difference in the world. The path will always throw unforeseen variables in front of you; position yourself with the tools necessary to meet those obstacles head on, and with a shot that gives you a chance to further an opportunity.

“These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.”

In any industry, there’s always going to be the people that are just out to “get theirs.” And what I mean by that is, they’re far more concerned with immediate attention and holster a flash in the pan mentality – whether they realize it or not. Checkers is more a game of chance and making quick moves in hopes of eradicating the competition. Chess is a thinking man’s game. You have to look at what’s right in front of you, what’s coming up behind and from the side, and what the future might hold. Using your peripherals is as important in business as it is on the basketball court. Don’t forget that. If you’ve got all angles covered, you’re better positioned to make a well-informed decision and the applicable move that will follow.

“Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones. 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.”

In today’s fast-moving world, it’s easy to get caught up in all the noise. Haters will lash out at you in some fashion – generally via social media or a poor online review. It’s the nature of the beast. The important thing is to remember not to get swept up in the undertow and lash out in retort. Don’t let them get in your head. They want you to foul out.

Sure, we’re all sensitive creatures deep down. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Channel your feelings into the task at hand and be great. Nobody remembers the ill-informed hater – they remember the entity that rose above it all and buried the last, game winning shot. Nobody hates “good.” They hate greatness. When you boil it down, “hating” is a product of envy. Use that to your advantage and position yourself accordingly.

“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan; I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”

Comparisons are a rampant piece of human existence. While it’s nice to be compared to the greatest in your unique arena of work, comparisons are often cheap. You don’t want to be the next (X) in your area of expertise, you want to be the baseline for greatness in whatever sector you’re working in. Dedication, sincerity, relentless pursuit of perfection, and taking some creative chances will get you there and help define the quality of your work. Shoot for the best, conquer the best, become the best. Game over.


The Black Mamba inspires us – yesterday, today, and all our tomorrows. We work every single day to be the best creative marketers we can be, and we position each and every one of our clients as the authoritative voice in their respective industry. We’re inspired, and we aim to inspire. Day in, and day out. When you’re ready to take that next step, we’ll be waiting with eager and open arms. Put us in coach – we’re ready to play. Or, if you’re in need of coaching, we’ll get you in game-shape in no time. Dedication abound.

Tagged Under: Marketing + Shared Greatness
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