He won five NBA championships, was a two-time MVP finalist and won two gold medals for the Men’s Olympic USA team in 2008 and 2012. He scored a record of 12 three-point shots against Seattle Supersonics in 2003, the most three-point field goals by an individual during an NBA game.
Otherwise known as the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant was and will always be a legend.
The 42-year old NBA star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas Hills last month.
Along with his lists of NBA accolades, Bryant gave us an ideology, one that reminds us of the more important things: the qualities of perseverance and compassion, or as Bryant called it, “Mamba Mentality.”
“He always talked about this ‘Mamba Mentality.’ He didn’t have to create that, it was already there,” Jerry West, former NBA Lakers general manager, said in a TNT interview. “To watch him want to find some way to get better every year…”
Nicknaming himself “Black Mamba,” Bryant used the deadly animal as an alter ego when dealing with obstacles on and off the court. “When I step on that court, I become that. I am that killer snake. I’m stone cold, man,” Bryant said in 2015 interview with Ahmad Rashad.
Coining the term Mamba Mentality, Bryant refers to his alter ego as one with relentless qualities–a competitive mind set that applies to anyone with ambition in any situation whether they are athletes, teachers or children.
In an interview for Amazon Book Review for his book “The Mamba Mentality,” he explains, “Mamba Mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most. … The Mamba Mentality is a mindset that extends way beyond basketball or sports.”
It was evident that Bryant not only preached Mamba Mentality but practiced it.
In February 2008, Bryant tore a ligament in his finger while playing in New Jersey. The injury was located on the same hand that the NBA star used to shoot with. Bryant was advised to miss up to six weeks of the regular season, but he ignored the advice to take a medical leave. Instead, Bryant continued to play through the season and lead the Lakers to win the nine out of ten games, making them number one in the Western Conference.
When he wasn’t playing through his injuries, Bryant was applying Mamba Mentality in his daily routine. Waking up at four in the morning to start his weight training, going back home to take his daughters to school, then going to practice, picking up the children from school, and taking them to after school activities was all part of Bryant’s daily routine.
Bryant explained to MLB star Alex Rodriguez in The Corp interview that he insisted on taking the children to school, even when his wife, Vanessa Bryant, suggested she do it.
“Like every chance I get to see them and spend time with them, even if it’s like 20 minutes in the car, I want that!” Bryant said.
As he managed the responsibilities of being an NBA superstar and a father of four, Bryant did not withhold demonstrating his Mamba Mentality from his community and the world.
Bryant and his family have made it a goal to help youth and families worldwide through their foundation, the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF). KVBFF has made it their mission to help youth and families by providing financial resources and programs.
KVBFF operates Mamba FC, a youth soccer club. Mamba FC encourages youth to work together and become leaders through fitness. Mamba FC incorporates Bryant’s Mamba Mentality by encouraging players to work together while building a foundation of work ethic.
KVBFF has also partnered with local organizations in the Los Angeles area to help serve homeless youth. Partnering with Step Up on Second, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and My Friend’s Place, KVBFF aims to positively impact homeless youth, providing services for clothing, emotional support, housing and education.
In 2009, Bryant launched the Kobe China Fund, partnering with the China Soong Ling Foundation to help raise awareness and funds for education and health programs within China, while encouraging intercultural communication between Chinese and American youth.
“It’s simple, if you have a goal or dream, you need to apply the Mamba Mentality to achieve it. Everything worth achieving needs total focus and dedication,” Bryant said in his Amazon Book Review interview.
To donate to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, go to mambasportsacademy.com.