LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)- Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were among nine victims who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday. In the wake of his death, tributes have poured in from across the world, as fans and fellow athletes alike attempt to process the loss of the man known as “Black Mamba.”
While his exploits on the court have been nearly too voluminous to list, Bryant was also a prolific thinker, both on basketball and life. His approach, the “Black Mamba Mentality” has been emulated by many throughout the years. As we look back on his life, here are eight of the most memorable quotes on basketball, life, and being a father that Bryant presented us with over the years.
1) On Sacrifice
“There’s a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision.” – From “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” 2015 on Showtime
2) On Failure
“When we are saying, ‘This cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done,’ then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure,’ I think that is … almost worse than death.” -From “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” 2015 on Showtime
3) On Gianna’s Competitive Spirit
“The best thing that happens when we go out, fans will come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me and they’ll be like, ‘Hey, you gotta have a boy! You and V gotta have a boy to have somebody to carry on the tradition and the legacy.’ She’s like, ‘Hey, I got this! You don’t need a boy for that.’” –Jimmy Kimmel Live, 2018.
4) On His Leadership Style
“I liked challenging people and making them uncomfortable. That’s what leads to introspection and that’s what leads to improvement. You could say I dared people to be their best selves.
That approach never wavered. What I did adjust, though, was how I varied my approach from player to player. I still challenged everyone and made them uncomfortable, I just did it in a way that was tailored to them. To learn what would work and for who, I started doing homework and watched how they behaved. I learned their histories and listened to what their goals were. I learned what made them feel secure and where their greatest doubts lay. Once I understood them, I could help bring the best out of them by touching the right nerve at the right time.”- From “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” (2018)
5) On Fatherhood, And Writing Books His Daughter’s Could Relate To
“I have four girls at home and I wanted to make sure, it’s important that they see characters that look like them. That are also athletes. They get tired of hearing my voice, ‘Be persistent. Work hard. Believe in yourself.’ They’re kind of like ‘okay dad alright I got it, we get it.’ So, when I can put them into stories like this, hopefully it will get that same message without having their parents in their ear all the time.” -Interview with Good Morning America, 2019
6) On Playing The “Villain” On The Road
“I have always had some of my best performances on the road. When fans boo, I absolutely love it. I thrive on it. They don’t understand who I am. Not only am I comfortable being the outsider, that has become a source of motivation for me. When I go to these places and you boo, it actually comforts me.” “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” 2015 on Showtime
7) On Friendship vs. Banners
“I meant that friends can come and go, but banners hang forever.”– ESPN feature (2015)
8) On Following Your Dreams
“‘I think you have to believe that they’re possible. It’s easier said than done, because I think we all have dreams. But once you go through the process of trying to make those dreams a reality, you hit obstacles. And I think unfortunately because of pressure or anxiety or responsibilities, things, whatever, you kind of give up on those dreams and somewhere along the line you lose that imagination. I think it’s important that you never lose that. You have to keep that. That’s the most important thing. I never gave up my dream.” –NBA All-Star Game interview NOLA.com (2016)