A month after his death and just days after the celebration of life public memorial service, Kobe Bryant's "Letter to My Younger Self" has resurfaced. Penned in The Players' Tribune in 2016 following his NBA retirement, the emotional and open letter focused on Bryant's family and friends and their futures.
"Dear 17-year-old self," the essay began. "When your Laker dream comes true tomorrow, you need to figure out a way to invest in the future of your family and friends. This sounds simple, and you may think it’s a no-brainer, but take some time to think on it further."
Encouraging his younger self to not just give friends and family money, but to instead "invest in their futures," Bryant explained that buying them material things was "actually holding them back."
"You will come to understand that you were taking care of them because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world — and that was extremely selfish of you," he wrote. "While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth."
"Understand that you are about to be the leader of the family, and this involves making tough choices, even if your siblings and friends do not understand them at the time. Invest in their future, don’t just give," he advised. "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 NBA legend, who spent his two-decade-long career with the Los Angeles Lakers, explained that he was "writing you now so that you can begin this process immediately, and so that you don’t have to deal with the hurt and struggle of weaning them off of the addiction that you facilitated. That addiction only leads to anger, resentment and jealousy from everybody involved, including yourself."
Admitting that "there's plenty more I could write to you," Bryant went on to write that "the next time I write to you, I may touch on the challenges of mixing blood with business. The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers."
"Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children's kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes," he said.0comments
"Your life is about to change, and things are about to come at you very fast. But just let this sink in a bit when you lay down at night after another nine-hour training day," he concluded. "Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache, some of which remains to this day."
Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed when their helicopter, on its way to a Mamba Sports Academy basketball game, crashed into a Calabasas, California hillside.