On the morning of me turning 31, I shot a video of myself shooting an imaginary fade-away. It looked good in my head, but in reality It looked more like a footballer going for a bicycle-kick. Point is, I envisioned Kobe when I did it. And the crazy part about this, is that I’m a diehard Celtics fan, from the get-go!
I remember the run the Celtics had in 07–08. I was 20 years old at the time, waking up at dawn wearing Larry Bird’s jersey which was more of a dress given that I’m 5'2 compared to the length of The Hick from French Lick.
Watching the game with my Dad and my younger brother, as we huddled and jumped celebrating the 17th Celtics Banner. Carried by the vibes of “BEAT L.A” and the sweet win of the rivalry against the Lakers… It was the beginning of a great summer.
Fast forward into the crippled Celtics fall to Kobe and the Lakers in 2010. I used to cringe and hold my breath every time Kobe took a jump shot. (I still believe we should have won that year) but Kobe was adamant. From the player who had to have the ball in his hands, to a leader who brought out the best out of his team in his own Mamba way. This was an unfamiliar scene. For me this is where the growth of Kobe was felt. A transcending player, who knew he had more in his bag to share with the world.
I often wondered about the mentality of athletes. Their resilience and focus. But, Kobe’s built…was different. The way he played through his injuries and pain, almost indifferent about its existence, is simply, insane. The only player I can mirror this, is Larry Bird. I found this to be quite admirable, in the way they are wired. I started emulating this kind of resilience and sense of competitiveness to my work as an Entrepreneur and your Average Joe in the gym.
I remember back in 2016, we were just about to start a workout session in the gym. The warm up was a game of tag. Just before the end of that warm-up, I had to be clutch and sprinted my way to tag a girl out. As I was trying to pivot with a full force, a pillar was standing in my way. I turned, reached, and sprained my ankle. I never turned an ankle before, so I took a few seconds on the floor processing the shock of the fall, and I told myself. “Get up.. Bird, played with a messed up back and a fractured cheek-bone in 91' and Kobe walked to the free-throw line with a torn achilles”. And I sure did as I limped my way to the rower, and hopped back and forth with suicides across the floor. Mamba Mentality Ladies & Gentlemen.
“You determine when it is up for you. When we say this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are shortchanging ourselves”. — Kobe Bryant’s Muse
It didn’t stop there. I would always ask more out of myself. I’d go to work on days where I was feeling nauseated. Where I had the flu, and out of sorts. I truly believed, that hard work and consistency sets you apart from the rest. That this is basically your recipe for success, with a dollop of your talent on the side.
When Bill Simmons sat with Larry Bird and asked him: If you could’ve picked any current player to play with for an entire season, who would you pick? Bird answered, Probably Kobe. Well, he wouldn’t be shooting as much now, but his desire to win, his dedication in off-season to get better… and he’s just tough! He’s a tough cat. But if you wanna have fun like I did with Bill Walton, you play with LeBron. It’ll be more fun to play with LeBron, but if you want to win win, and win, it’s Kobe.
Listening to this quote by the Legend Larry Bird about Kobe, really puts a lot of things for me in perspective. The way I approached my business and the people I choose to work and surround myself with. It’s about being selective, and making sure you share the same end-goal, to eventually win!
Kobe was known for his winning mentality. 3 back-to-back-to back Championships. And another back-to back Championships.
“My brain cannot, it cannot process failure, it will not process failure. Because, if I sit there and have to face myself, and tell myself you are a failure, I think that’s worse.. that’s almost worse than death!” — Kobe Bryant’s Muse
But that wasn’t the only thing that defined Kobe. He was truly more than Basketball.
His Post-Basketball days, was just as exciting as his playing days. He went on to become an Author, a Story-teller and a Producer. When Kobe won his Oscar in 2017 for Best Short Story. I said to myself, Oh My God!…this is it.. Kobe just showed the world that Humans are transcending creatures, who can’t be defined by one thing their entire life. He evolved in different categories in his life, and added more categories to it. That was a light-switch moment.
I started to love the guy that I loved to hate. Watching him advocate for women in Sports and being an integral part to this journey. The way he was involved with his family. You can see how happy he was, and how passionate he talked about his girls, and the things he was so keen to tap into. I respected him for that.
His second act was just fun to watch in the most humbling way he portrayed himself as a mentor and still a learner through his curious mind. I believe that’s why a lot of us are devastated by his loss. Never getting to see what more he can do. What Gianna’s journey could be as a Basketball player, carrying the legacy. It aches not being able to see the last verse of this beautiful poem recited.
Thank you Kobe for the intense rivalry over years, for inspiring me to be better, and for showing us how passion can be so versatile.
From a Celtics fan all the way from Kuwait,
Rest in peace Kobe & Gianna
#FarewellKobe #Legend24 #GOAT #GirlDad