Kobe Bryant’s 55 Greatest Quotes on Life, Love and Mental Toughness

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Photo by Janine Robinson on Unsplash

With the untimely death of Hall of Famer & Laker Legend Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in a helicopter accident. The tragedy also claimed the lives of his 13-year old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others. The loss is still surreal to some, as we look back upon on the career, accomplishments and accolades that Kobe set out to achieve during his chase for perfection.

I wanted to take a moment to celebrate and highlight the fact that, not only was Kobe Bryant a great athlete. He was also commemorated, honored and cherished for his seemingly, one-of-kind mental make-up. From his philosophical views on life, business and his love for basketball. Many of us, along with his peers, saw greatness in Kobe Bryant early in his career and seemingly long after his retirement from basketball.

Believe it or not, the Mamba Mentality that Kobe Bryant became famously known for, was forged at the lowest point in his career in 2004. While dealing with a number of personal issues off the court. Kobe created ‘The Black Mamba’ to refocus, channel his energy and take the opportunity to rise above the noise on the court. He describes the energy as a rage, that had the force of an avalanche when released.

This directly speaks to the power of anyone who has the ability to take negative energy and use it to their advantage. Everyone who has faced challenges in life, agree, obstacles are just a part of the process. Greatness is born when you become keenly aware that those same obstacles, can be used to add fuel to the fire.

No matter how big your goals or how hard the challenges you may face in life. Obstacles can either effect you positively or negatively.

On your road to success you will have many avenues to proceed down. Although, when faced with obstacles, by human nature that path becomes binary. You either fight through it or let the adversity stop you in your tracks. The beauty of the Mamba Mentality is this, there’s only one option. The only option, you never stop. The strong persevere and when you are starring adversity in the face. There’s no such thing as acknowledging defeat. We don’t hear it, we don’t see it, because success becomes the ultimate driving force.

In Kobe’s case, he purposefully made a decision to take that negative vivacity and give birth to The Black Mamba. Shedding his skin everytime he stepped on the court and dismantling everyone in his path on his road back to greatness. I truly believe that the Mamba Mentality is based in cause and effect.

When you work hard and prepare, what is the end result?

Always keep in mind, Kobe Bryant skipped playing college basketball at Duke because he wanted to play against Michael Jordan before he retired from the NBA.

Success does not happen by chance.

The Mamba Mentality has taught us, to focus, work hard and be the best possible version of yourself, every single day. No matter the profession, the sport or arena. This attitude can pay dividends across multiple platforms. As Kobe was honored by Academy Awards for his 2018 Animated Short Film ‘Dear Basketball’, along with Disney’s Glen Keane. The film is inspired by a poem that Kobe wrote bidding a farewell to basketball after the 2015–16 season.

Shortly after hearing of Kobe’s passing, Keane released a statement.

“Kobe was the most passionate man who was led by his heart and his intellect. He was a great thinker with an insatiable hunger for learning: As soon as he stepped into animation, he eagerly began soaking up every aspect of it. Working with him was a dream and one of the high points of my career.”

He was also known for his pure will, killer instinct, competitiveness and sheer creativity when it came to his views on living your everyday life and what it means to be great.

Below, I have curated 55 of my favorite, greatest quotes from Kobe Bryant aka The Black Mamba.

The number 55 was chosen because of the legendary story of Michael Jordan telling a 24-year old Kobe Bryant after a lost,

“You can wear my shoes, but you’ll never fill them.”

Leading up to the rematch against Jordan and his Washington Wizards, Kobe didn’t speak to anyone for two weeks and came out on the Laker’s home court and dropped 55 on Michael Jordan.

The Black Mamba on Life

  1. “I’m extremely willful to win, and I respond to challenges. Scoring titles and stuff like that… it sounds, well, I don’t care how it sounds – to me, scoring comes easy. It’s not a challenge to me to win the scoring title, because I know I can.” — Kobe Bryant
  2. “Boos don’t block dunks.” — Kobe Bryant
  3. “After winning his fifth championship in June of 2010: “I just got one more than Shaq. So you can take that to the bank.” — Kobe Bryant
  4. “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” — Kobe Bryant
  5. “Are you willing to push the right buttons even if it means being perceived as the villain? … I’d rather be perceived as a winner than a good teammate. I wish they both went hand in hand all the time but that’s just not reality… I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success.” — Kobe Bryant
  6. “The topic of leadership is a touchy one. A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord. Throughout my years, I haven’t had that fear.” — Kobe Bryant
  7. “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.” — Kobe Bryant
  8. “Better learn not to talk to me. You shake the tree, a leopard’s gonna fall out.” — Kobe Bryant
  9. “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” — Kobe Bryant
  10. “Because I don’t want chumps, I don’t want pushovers, and if you’re a chump and a pushover, I will run over you.” — Kobe Bryant
  11. About Shaq’s work ethic: “It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy. You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through s–.” — Kobe Bryant
  12. “I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” — Kobe Bryant
  13. “I don’t give a [expletive] what you say. If I go out there and miss game winners, and people say, ‘Kobe choked, or Kobe is seven for whatever in pressure situations.’ Well, [expletive] you.” — Kobe Bryant
  14. “It’s an intentional pass to oneself, so it’s an assist. That way people can’t say all I do is shoot.” — Kobe Bryant
  15. “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.” — Kobe Bryant
  16. After Grinnell’s Jack Taylor scores 138 points in 2012: “Would people be celebrating me if I scored 138 points? You know how it is; some people would, some people wouldn’t. They can all kiss my a– as I’m sure he feels the same way. If you score 138 points, you kind of have a license to tell people to f— off.” — Kobe Bryant
  17. “Take it all in. Sit back and watch and listen and hear all the hate that’s being thrown at us and remember every person that’s kicking you when you’re down, because next year it ain’t gonna be this way. Appreciate it now. Let it sit in now, because revenge is sweet and it’s quick.” — Kobe Bryant
  18. “I’ve shot too much from the time I was 8 years old. But ‘too much’ is a matter of perspective. Some people thought Mozart had too many notes in his compositions. Let me put it this way: I entertain people who say I shoot too much. I find it very interesting. Going back to Mozart, he responded to critics by saying there were neither too many notes or too few. There were as many as necessary.” — Kobe Bryant
  19. “The Black Mamba collection of watches is me: It is my alter ego, so to speak. As I mentioned before, it is sharp, cutting edge and sleek which are characteristics I try to apply when I’m out there on the basketball court.” — Kobe Bryant
  20. “All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen?!?Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me… Then again maybe not!” — Kobe Bryant

The Black Mamba on Love

  1. “As I sit here now, when I take off my shoe and I look down at my scar, I see beauty in it. I see all the hard work, all the sacrifices. I see the journey that it took to get back to this point of being healthy. And I see beauty in that struggle. That’s what makes it beautiful.” — Kobe Bryant
  2. “My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.” — Kobe Bryant
  3. “Friends can come and go, but banners hang forever.” — Kobe Bryant
  4. “The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real. I’m not a player that is just going to come and go. I’m not a player that is going to make an All-Star team one time, two times. I’m here to be an all-time great. Once I made that commitment and said, ‘I want to be one of the greatest ever’, then the game became everything for me.” — Kobe Bryant
  5. “I’m chasing perfection.” — Kobe Bryant
  6. “Hi, I’m Kobe Bryant. And I have decided to take my talent to, uh… I have decided to skip college and take my talent to the NBA.” — Kobe Bryant
  7. “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” — Kobe Bryant
  8. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.” — Kobe Bryant
  9. “What people see on court is another side of me; it’s not me.” — Kobe Bryant
  10. “There’s a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision.” — Kobe Bryant
  11. “I love going one-on-one with someone. That’s what I do. I’ve never lost. It’s a whole different game, just to have them right in front of you and be able to do whatever you want.” — Kobe Bryant
  12. “I remember feeling the silence. I remember feeling the fear. I’m like, ‘This could be a wrap.’ And that’s what the silence was. It was like, ‘This could really be a wrap for you.” — Kobe Bryant
  13. “I’m more than comfortable just sitting back and scoring 21, 22 points or whatever and getting 10, 11 assists whatever the case might be. More than comfortable with that. It’s just a matter of the pieces that you have around you and what you can do to elevate everybody else.” — Kobe Bryant
  14. “I’ve played with IVs before, during and after games. I’ve played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a fractured tooth, a severed lip, and a knee the size of a softball. I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.” — Kobe Bryant
  15. “I’m playing against great players, playing against the best in the world. The competition – that’s what I’ve always wanted.” — Kobe Bryant
  16. “The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real. I’m not a player that is just going to come and go. I’m not a player that is going to make an All-Star team one time, two times. I’m here to be an all-time great. Once I made that commitment and said, ‘I want to be one of the greatest ever’, then the game became everything for me.” — Kobe Bryant

The Black Mamba on Mental Toughness

  1. “People just don’t understand how obsessed I am with winning.” — Kobe Bryant
  2. After being ranked the 40th best player in the NBA by ESPN: “I’ve known for a long time they’re a bunch of idiots… I tend to use things as motivation that tend to be in the realm of reality.” — Kobe Bryant
  3. “I focus on one thing and one thing only – that’s trying to win as many championships as I can.” — Kobe Bryant
  4. “I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.” — Kobe Bryant
  5. “The people who truly know me know what I’m like. There have been people who try to say things that aren’t fair, and I check them. And then they don’t like me because I checked them.” — Kobe Bryant
  6. “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” — Kobe Bryant
  7. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury – unless it’s completely debilitating – I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming.” — Kobe Bryant
  8. “When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. I want him. It’s the ultimate challenge.” — Kobe Bryant
  9. “There’s certain players that I’ve made cry. If I can make you cry by being sarcastic, then I really don’t want to play with you in the playoffs.” — Kobe Bryant
  10. “Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts.” — Kobe Bryant
  11. “Kobe was once asked, what he would do if his hand fell off and was forced to retire?: “Even then, you could still play with one hand.” — Kobe Bryant
  12. “I don’t f— with bees, man. Other than that, I’m not afraid of nothing.” — Kobe Bryant
  13. During a Lakers blowout loss, The Black Mamba puts up 34 shots for 44 points in 31 minutes: “I’d rather not have to do that, but you can’t sit back and watch crime happen in front of you.” — Kobe Bryant
  14. “My brain . . . it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I sit there and have to face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure’ . . . I think that’s almost worse than death.” — Kobe Bryant
  15. Kobe responds to LeBron James’ claim that the Miami Heat received an unparallel amount of scrutiny compared to Kobe’s 2012–13 Lakers: “What does it matter? What does he want, a cookie for that?” — Kobe Bryant
  16. “I had to organize things. So I created the ‘Black Mamba’. So Kobe has to deal with these issues, all the personal challenges. The Black Mamba steps on the court and does what he does. I’m destroying everybody that steps on the court.” — Kobe Bryant
  17. “I would go 0-for-30 [from the floor] before I would go 0-for-9. 0-for-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game. … The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.” — Kobe Bryant
  18. “One thing you gotta know about me is I have absolutely no filter. I have no problem saying what the hell I think of someone.” — Kobe Bryant
  19. “The last time I was intimidated was when I was 6 years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s—less. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my ass. But then I realized he didn’t kick my ass as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of. That was around the time I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.” — Kobe Bryant

What is your favorite Kobe Bryant Quote?

Share your favorite quote by highlighting or feel free to tweet it and tag me

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Entrepreneur based in Minneapolis, MN. I write about Music, Inspiration, Economics & Business. Website: 227-mn.com & Newsletter: http://ow.ly/nBJJ50AbYAF

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