Kobe Bryant was remembered this week as the Staples Center hosted a Celebration of Life for him and daughter Gianna. Both were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with seven others outside the Los Angeles area. It was an opportunity to remember what Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers, city of Los Angeles and entire NBA community.
Bryant will be remembered for a number of things, but what he was able to do on the basketball court was something on another level. He finished his career third on the NBA's all-time scoring list and he led the Lakers to five NBA titles from 2000-2010. He won the MVP award in 2008 and was named NBA Finals MVP twice. Bryant could have been called Mr. All-Star since he was named to the All-Star Game 18 times and was named All-Star MVP four times, which tied him with Bob Pettit for the most All-Star MVP awards in NBA history.
One of the things that Bryant did during his time on Earth was to inspire people so they can achieve big things in life. He did it when he was on the court and in the business world after retiring from the NBA in 2016.
"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do," Bryant said.
There are times when Bryant has doubted himself during his career, but he had this belief that if you can embrace the doubt, you will have success more times than not.
Bryant said: "I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it."
Sports Being a Teacher
Bryant didn't play basketball just because he loved it, but because of the life lessons he learned. That also could be a reason he became a coach on his daughter's basketball team.
Bryant said: "Sports are such a great teacher. I think of everything they've taught me: camaraderie, humility, how to resolve differences."
Bryant made it very clear he is not about people who are lazy. If the former Lakers star went that path, he would be a former Lakers star.
Bryant said: "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."
Not the Next Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant looked up to Michael Jordan, but his goal was to never be the next Michael Jordan. Fans compared Bryant to Jordan because of his success on the court.
"I don't want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant," he said.
Bryant wanted to be the best basketball player in the world and in order for that to happen, he made sacrifices that included the time he spent with his family and friends. He was able to get some of that time back when he retired in 2016.
He said: "If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. 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."
Bryant was not about to follow anyone's path. He was great at what he did because he was a leader and he made sure his path was clear and straight as possible.
"I create my own path, he said. "It was straight and narrow. I looked at it this way: you were either in my way, or out of it."
Want to know why Bryant won a lot when he was with the Lakers? Because there were no other options with him. Bryant may not have led the Lakers to a title every year he was playing, but winning five championships is quite the accomplishment.
"Winning takes precedence overall," he said. "There's no gray area. No almosts."
Bryant didn't hold back when it comes to how he felt about something. If he had a problem with someone or if he didn't like how things were going, he would let you know about it.
"One thing you gotta know about me is I have absolutely no filter," Bryant said. "I have no problem saying what the hell I think of someone."
Bryant was able to play in the NBA for 20 years because he was able to change his game. He knew that in order to stay on top, he had to be a step ahead of everyone else.
"These young guys are playing checkers," Bryant said. I'm out there playing chess."