While every professional athlete is incredibly talented, innate skill isn’t enough to become a star. It also takes a great deal of work to reach the top; Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was proof of that reality. The guard might have been one of the most dynamic players that the NBA has ever seen, but he was also a perfectionistwho expected the best from himself and his teammates.
That famous work ethic wasn’t confined to the basketball court, however. It even made an impact on the late star’s book series.
Kobe Bryant’s legendary Los Angeles Lakers career
During his time in high school, Kobe Bryant burst onto the basketball scene as a sure-fire star. While the guard could have played for any college program in the country, he wasn’t interested in NCAA action. Following the lead of Kevin Garnett, Bryant entered directly into the 1996 NBA draft.
The Charlotte Hornets selected the guard 13th overall but promptly traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. That deal would change the course of basketball history. While Bryant saw limited playing time at first—he was only 18 when he made his NBA debut—his talent was undeniable; with each passing game, he looked more and more at home in the pros.
Bryant, of course, would develop into one of the best players in NBA history. During his 20 seasons with the Lakers, he won five championships, two scoring titles, and one MVP Award; he also averaged 25 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game for his career. On any given night, Kobe seemed capable of doing whatever it took to win a given game.
Mamba Mentality made all of those achievements possible
It goes without saying that Kobe Bryant was an incredibly gifted basketball player. His ‘Mamba Mentality,’ however, helped the guard elevate his game to the next level.
During his playing career, Bryant pushed himself to the limit. While it would have been easy for the guard to slack off—he was a star, after all—that status just meant he had to work even harder. Whether he was working out alone at 5 A.M. or refusing to leave practice until he took 400 jumpers, there was no outworking Kobe. Above all else, he simply wanted to win.
That mindset existed off the court, too. Bryant, for example, never wanted to deal with yes man; instead, he respected those who believed in their convictions, even if they clashed with his own. Kobe wasn’t always the easiest to work with, but that innate drive helped make him an NBA legend.
Kobe Bryant wanted his book series to be perfect, too
After his playing career ended, Kobe Bryant started branching out. The guard wrote and narrated a short film and started writing books. Even those ventures, though, had to be perfect.
One of his ventures was “The Wizenard” series, which blends basketball and magic together. While Kobe worked alongside author Wesley King on the project, the former Laker was the one who set the standard.
“King set to work on the second book on a furious schedule, churning out seven rewrites in seven months, all while communicating daily with the book’s busy creator,” Faith E. Pinho explained in the Los Angeles Times. “King said sometimes he would send 50 pages to Bryant, who would call back two hours later, having finished reading the draft, to discuss the work. Bryant’s perfectionism demanded attention to every detail.”
That didn’t mean Bryant was a pure taskmaster, though. “Sometimes Kobe would just call out of the blue and say, ‘How you doing, man? You’re a genius!” King recalled. “He just always had this energy and this infectious enthusiasm when he just put his mind to something.”
For all of Kobe Bryant’s on-court accomplishments, it was that mindset that made him different.