Kobe Bryant is dead.
The moment that reality set in was something that anyone old enough to comprehend its significance will never forget. Few athletes transcend the sport that they play, and “The Black Mamba” was certainly one who fell into that category. At just 17, Bryant made his NBA debut under a microscope, because of his controversial decision to say “thanks, but no thanks” to college and test himself at the highest level when he was barely old enough to drive a car.
You know the rest of the story. Bryant became one of the greatest basketball players ever, and did it by instilling the “mamba mentality,” which did not allow Bryant to accept being anything less than the best in the world at his profession.
What we tend to overlook about the mamba mentality is that it can apply to pretty much anywhere in life. When we think of this mindset, we think of athletes and their obsession with their craft. The truth is, however, whether a person is a CEO of a major company or an intern whose main responsibilities include getting Mr. Anderson his morning coffee, instilling the mamba mentality could be life changing.
Kobe Bryant is a perfect example of a person making the most of the talents God gave them. Kobe was gifted, and he knew he was gifted. And still, his work ethic exceeded his natural talent, and that, above all else, is what people will think of when Bryant’s name is brought up in conversation.
The danger in instilling the mamba mentality lies in the possibility of a man or woman becoming consumed by their work, and as a result, not making time for anything else. Yet somehow, Kobe made time to be there for his four children, one of which, 13-year-old Gianna, died with her dad in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.
It was clear that even after Bryant left the game of basketball, his impact on the world was just beginning. The mamba mentality was going to apply to other areas of Kobe’s life for years and years after he played his last game, and even lead him to winning an Oscar for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” in 2018.
Bryant’s death is possibly the most tragic sports story in years. The silver lining, however, is that every one of us has the ability to honor Bryant by instilling the mindset that he made famous into whatever we’re doing in life. Whether it be in school, work or any other aspect of life, the mamba mentality isn’t exclusive to basketball or even sports. Kobe Bryant wasn’t the first to have this mindset, but he made it famous. If we take our work seriously enough to strive to be the best at it, the mamba mentality will live on well after Kobe left us.