Genesis 11:6 And the Lord said, “Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”
How much can a mindset affect your life and career? How much do we know how to use our imagination and mind to set a vision for our life and then walk it out to fruition? If I say the words, “brown dog,” your mind does not see B-R-O-W-N D-O-G. You see a brown Labrador retriever. You don’t see the words; the screen of your mind sees a picture of a brown colored dog. That is the human imagination at work and how the canvas of the human mind works. Your imagination will sooner or later produce behavior in your life.
Just about an hour ago I watched the highlights of the last game of Kobe Bryant’s career. Throughout his 20 years of service to the Los Angeles Lakers, I was always impressed with his will to win and his focus to accomplish great things in the craft he chose, the game of basketball. Kobe proclaimed it as Mamba Mentality, and basketball was his mental obsession. If you listened closely to him, he spoke about imagination and laying out a storyboard in your mind, he was not restrained. But my respect for him wasn’t instant…
I remember sitting on a friends couch late one summer night in 1997 watching him, in frustration, during the Western Conference Finals against Utah throw up four airballs in the final minutes of a close game. I wondered what all the hype was about for this kid Kobe Bryant? The only thing I knew about him was he won the 1997 slam dunk championship a few months before where the competition wasn’t great…
Kobe Bean Bryant was the greatest competitor & athlete of his basketball generation, also tagged the Last Alpha Male by Sports Illustrated in 2013. He was a Philadelphia kid, raised in Italy, and the son of NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. He was more than just a son of a NBAer and Jordan wannabe. He had the uncanny ability to envision something into fruition, when nearly all his labors were focused on one single goal to be great and then build an image for his brand. He was an 18-time NBA all-star, a five-time champion, the league MVP in 2008, a finals MVP twice, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, an 11-time member of the all-NBA first team and a nine-time member of the all-NBA defensive first team. He became the face of the NBA in the 2nd half of his career, and in-short he had a killer instinct, he was a warrior, he was a gladiator. How did he develop his mentality?
Growing up rubbing shoulders with the National Basketball Association and its players meant he was not in awe of it when he landed in the League as a 17-year-old rookie. He wasn’t even old enough to sign his own rookie contract because he wasn’t 18. His rookie year was far from stellar as he had trouble getting minutes on a solid Laker squad. He averaged less than 8 points per game.
But soon an NBA fan, like myself, could see glimpses of what the Laker General Manager, Jerry West, saw in him. He started in the All-Star game by year two and thrived that afternoon in the lights of NYC at Madison Square Garden. He just had the “it” factor, and there started to be rumors circulating around the league that his work ethic was extreme and unmatched. What people didn’t know is this began at 13 years-old and followed him through high school. He worked on basketball three hours a day minimum and was driven to be the absolute best. This is what he called his “Mamba Mentality.”
Kobe had learned the art of casting down doubt and fear. Missing a shot, or many in a row, didn’t affect his approach to the game. Most players back off, he is that guy who is more aggressive looking for his shot and his game. Yes, at times he forced the game – but as a result he left his print all over it. He played the game with precision and an almost perfectionism.
Whether you played basketball or know nothing about it – what many took from him was that he would will himself to success by dedicating his time to the success of the image (Vision) in his mind. His approach to training was something I never heard of, he would sleep only a small number of hours over night and be working out by 5 a.m., then do another 11 a.m. workout and then a 6 p.m. He would extend his day to get a 3rd workout in and 7 hours of physical regime. Many workouts would have short sleeps in between to mimic night rest and recovery for the mind and body. It was extreme! Bryant also asked questions of veterans and anyone who had a skill that was better than him, he was always looking for the competitive edge.
With the skill he already came into the League with combined with his work ethic, he became one of the greatest scorers of all-time. He scored 81 points in a game January 22, 2006, which some fans consider the greatest scoring game of all-time. It is 2nd in NBA history to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, but Wilt was fed the ball most of the 4th quarter to pad his stats. Kobe’s game was a come from behind win where the Lakers trailed most of the night. He also had games of 65, 62 (in 3 quarters), 61 (in MSG), 60, 60 (at 37 years old and his final game), 58, 56, and 55 (against Michael Jordan)!
Bean, as his friends would call him, liked to say, “Rest at the end, not in the middle” and “Let the world become your library to help you become better at your craft.” His impact on sports and culture were staggering. Kobe Bean Bryant was whisked into eternity on January 26, 2020 when his helicopter crashed into the hills of Calabasas, CA . . .
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
To all of you who have read this far in this blog, you may be thinking you do not want to be at the end of your life wishing you could have done more. Bryant didn’t regret anything in his career and what he accomplished was done by will power without tapping into the spiritual side of life, as I do not know his spiritual beliefs although he did attend Catholic mass the morning of the crash.
Whether you work in ministry, education, business, government, media, or entertainment know that once God gives you your calling don’t look in the rearview mirror anymore. Let the world stage and the Holy Spirit feed your calling, you have much to give. Kobe used his mind to maintain motivation – we have the Law of the Mind AND the leading of the Holy Spirit as a Christian. There is much to be done for the Kingdom!
Mamba Mentality https://www.amazon.com/Mamba-Mentality-How-Play/dp/0374201234
Positioned for Promotion: Book by Mac Hammond https://machammond.org/product/positioned-for-promotion/
Kobe Scores 60 in his final game – April 2016.
Kobe Bryant’s Greatest Speech