Kobe Bryant Strived to Win at Everything, but Even His Mamba Mentality Couldn’t Get Him on a Popular Reality TV Series: ‘Don’t Dance’

Throughout his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, NBA legend Kobe Bryant rarely backed down from a challenge; he strived to be the best he could and wanted to win at all costs.

However, Bryant refused to take on one specific challenge after his legendary career. The 18-time All-Star said he was a huge fan of the reality TV show Dancing With the Stars but had a quick answer when asked if he would ever be on it.

Kobe Bryant kept busy after his legendary NBA career with the Lakers

After winning five NBA championships with the Lakers and becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant continued to stay busy in retirement.

In addition to coaching his daughter Gianna’s basketball team, the late hoops star won an Oscar for best animated short after writing and narrating his project Dear Basketball. He also created multiple New York Times best-selling books, including his basketball-meets-Harry Potter series, The Wizenard Series.

“I think it’s (the stage of life he was in) just having fun,” Bryant said in 2019 on Good Morning America. “You find something that you love to do, and you go after it. And I was very fortunate to have basketball, but even more fortunate to find storytelling after.”

Kobe had a specific reason for not wanting to go on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Lakers and NBA legend Kobe Bryant in 2015.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of a game against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 4, 2015. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There have been countless stories of Bryant’s strong desire to win at everything. His competitive drive, also known as his Mamba Mentality, played a significant role in him winning his five titles and then continuing to find success in his post-career endeavors.

However, despite saying he was a fan of the popular reality TV series Dancing With The Stars, Bryant had a quick answer when someone asked him about being on it.

“No,” Bryant said with a laugh on an episode of Good Morning America in 2019. “My knees would be like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? We just went through 20 years of beating me up, don’t dance.’”

So, we unfortunately never got to see how Bryant could have fared as a dancer, but had he done it, the two-time Finals MVP would have followed in the footsteps (or dancing shoes?) of some iconic athletes.

Many other athletes have competed on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Despite Bryant’s unwillingness to go onto the show, numerous athletes have competed on Dancing with the Stars, and some have been successful.

While people like Kobe’s former teammate Lamar Odom and boxer Evander Holyfield couldn’t quite find their rhythm, some sports stars actually went on and won the whole thing. 

Here’s a list of athletes who have won as of 2020 (per Entertainment Tonight).

  • Season 3: Emmitt Smith (Hall of Fame NFL running back)
  • Season 4: Apollo Anton Ohno (Olympic gold-medal-winning speed skater)
  • Season 5: Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500-winning race car driver)
  • Season 6: Kristi Yamaguchi (Olympic gold-medal-winning figure skater)
  • Season 8: Shawn Johnson (Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast)
  • Season 12: Hines Ward (former Pro Bowl wide receiver)
  • Season 14: Donald Driver (former Green Bay Packer wide receiver)
  • Season 18: Meryl Davis (Olympic gold-medal-winning ice dancer)
  • Season 23: Laurie Hernandez (Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast)
  • Season 24: Rashad Jennings (former NFL running back)
  • Season 26: Adam Rippon (former Olympic figure skater)

That’s an impressive list, especially considering the ones like Emmitt Smith and Shawn Johnson, who were the best at what they did athletically and proved to be almost as good at dancing. There, however, aren’t any NBA stars on it, so maybe someone will eventually channel Kobe’s Mamba Mentality and bring home the Mirror Ball Trophy for hoops legends everywhere.

Bryant didn’t need it anyway; he already had too many trophies in his case.

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