After spending hours reading his book and listening to him speak, I felt like I knew Kobe Bryant.
In May 2019 I made this podcast: Kobe Bryant (The Mamba Mentality: How I Play) for the Founders Reviewers Only Private Feed.
It is now available to everyone.
You can listen using that link. It is also on the main Founders feed available on whatever podcast player you use.
In case you haven’t read my notes on Kobe I am including them below.
Kobe Bryant at USC
The trick is finding what you love to do. We talk about hard work all the time. If you gotta get up every morning and remind yourself how hard you have to work you probably need to choose a different profession. That shouldn’t be there. I wake up in the morning excited to get to it. If I am not training I am missing it. There is no place I’d rather be. If you have that feeling then you are doing what you were put on this earth to do. [7:45]
The best way to prove your value is to work. To learn. To absorb. To be a sponge. You always want to outwork your potential. As hard as you believe you can work? You can work harder than that. [8:54]
I had a competitive nature, work ethic, and curiosity. I asked a lot of questions. All the Lakers’ greats — I would always sit down and ask them questions about certain games I had studied growing up. [9:52]
Dreams should be pure. We are born into this world and we wind up going backwards. The more we mature the more responsible our dreams become. The more governors we put on ourselves and our ability to dream. Make sure your dreams always stay pure. If you protect your dreams and your imagination the world seems limitless. [11:34]
What was your articulated competitive philosophy? My philosophy was very simple. Rudy was one of my favorite films growing up. After watching that film I came to understand that if I could work that hard every day –what would my career be? I made a promise to myself that I was going to work that hard every single day so when I do retire I had no regrets. Leave no stone unturned. Get better every single day. If I lived that way then over time I would have something beautiful. If you live your life to get better every single day and you do that for 20 years–– what do you have? [17:36]
As a leader of a team, it is your responsibility to elevate the rest of the team. The way to make them better is to get them emotionally to want to be better. To get them to an emotional space where they wake up every morning driven to be the best version of themselves. [21:35]
How did you deal with teammates who weren’t as dedicated as you were? My response may sound a little tough but I’d kill them. I’d bury them. That mentality is not tolerated. If you show up and lallygag through this scrimmage or this drill, I am going to beat you. I am going to let you know I beat you. And I am going to want you to reconsider your professional life choice. [24:31]
If you are lazy I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to deal with you. You are going to make me feel dumber. You are going to lower my level. I don’t think so. [25:42]
How you create something that lasts forever: Pay everything that you have learned forward, to the next generation to come. Inspire one, who inspires the next, who inspires the next, and on and on you go. [39:54]
Kobe Bryant: Untold Stories
I have always been extremely curious. I had a great teacher in high school that sparked my curiosity in writing. The reason I thought the writing was important is because there are things in stories that can help me be a better basketball player. Be a better teammate. Be a better leader. Things that help me understand emotions better. [5:45]
I had a purpose. I wanted to be one of the best basketball players to ever play. Anything else that was outside of that lane I didn’t have time for. I made that deal with myself at 13 years old. [6:25]
Where did your inspiration come from? The challenge. I would watch Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan play. I would see them do unbelievable things. And I’d ask myself, “Can I get to that level?” I don’t know. But I want to find out. I had the curiosity to see where I could push this thing. [6:42]
Do you think you had an edge over everybody else because your focus was on one thing? I do. Basketball was the most important thing. Everything I saw, books I read, people I talked to—everything was done to try to learn how to become a better basketball player. When you have that point of view then the world becomes your library to help you become better at your craft. [8:35]
It was easy to size other players up in the NBA. I found that a lot of guys played for financial stability. Once they got that financial stability the passion, the work ethic, and the obsessiveness was gone. Once I saw that I thought, “This is going to be like taking candy from a baby. No wonder Michael Jordan wins all these fucking championships.” [12:00]
I see other players take vacations just to take a vacation. Or hang out just to hang out. I never did that. I didn’t do that because when I retire I didn’t want to say, “I wish I had done more.” [13:51]
Were there other players who you thought were as crazy as you were? I went to GOAT mountain. I talked to Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robinson, Jerry West, Bill Russell. I would ask them: What did you do? What were your experiences? What was that process like? I went to them to understand the ins and outs of the game. To figure out their level of detail and obsessiveness. That’s what I did. [14:30]
[How Kobe fixed weaknesses in his game]: When I shot five airballs in the playoffs and I asked, “Why did those airballs happen?” The year before I was in high school. We only played thirty-five games. In the NBA you play back-to-back-to-back. I didn’t have the legs. I have to get stronger. I have to train differently. I need to tailor my weight training to an 82 game season. I looked at it with rationale. I shot airballs because my legs weren’t there. Next year they will be there. That was it. [20:24]
[How Kobe decides which businesses to get involved with]: Do you understand the business? Is it a business you can help in some way? Are the leaders people you believe in? Are they obsessives? [30:51]
When it was time to play I’d switch my mode into something else. It was the equivalent of Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator picking up the dirt and smelling it. It is go time. That was my mental switch. It was like an actor getting ready for a film. You put yourself in that cage. When you are in that cage you are that character. Then when you leave there you can be something completely different. [51:30]
I would play the Halloween Theme Song over and over again in my headphones before the game. It was important because Michael Meyers was devoid of emotion. No pressure. No hype. Just a stone-cold killer. [52:30]
Everybody told me that I’d get depressed when I retire. I’m fine. My competitiveness kicked in. I am going to do something in the next 20 years that is better than these last 20. You might not understand it but I am doing that. [56:45]
I am not writing every word of the novel. I am not animating the films. What I have to do now is to make sure the obsessives we bring in are challenging themselves to do the best job that they can do. [57:12]
If we have a project and you think you can do it — that is not the project we want. The projects that make you say I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t know how to do that. Those are the things we want because through that curiosity you will reach a level that you didn’t think was possible. [57:45]
[Traits Kobe wants in the people he works with]: They have to be obsessives. They have to have a historical knowledge base. I love people who understand the history of their industry. [1:00:13]