The tragic helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26th that killed 9 people and took the iconic figure Kobe Bryant at the age of 41 is a reminder to us all that life is extremely fragile.
Many have put Kobe on a heroic pedestal for his basketball feats and others are reminding us of mortal transgressions of a far from perfect life. We at Hard 90 believe that there are some powerful lessons to be be learned from Kobe on the road to greatness.
As mentioned above - this accident is yet another reminder of how fragile life is - an opportunity to put life in perspective - and be thankful for all that we have been given - most importantly the relationships with others.
That said - Kobe did achieve greatness on the basketball court and anyone aspiring to legendary feats in sport or life can learn from his work ethic.
Kobe is famously quoted:
"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."
"I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses."
"Dedication sees dreams come true."
This mindset bore out in his commitment to the game of basketball which he started playing at the age of 3 and famously went straight from high school to the NBA. Yet - he did not stop working when he arrived - he merely worked harder to become one of the greatest that ever played the game.
Kobe also valued having a team:
"The important thing is that your teammates have to know you're pulling for them and you really want them to be successful."
"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do."
"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."
While many highlight the rocky times that played out in the press in LA, Kobe learned through early years coming up short on the quest for a title the value of a coach like Phil Jackson and teammates like Shaq that were on the same mission.
Kobe believed that working through adversity was a key piece to his success:
"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."
This was clearly demonstrated later in his career as he battled through injury to return to the game that he loved. In spite of injury and being considered an "older" player, Kobe scored 61 points in his final basketball game. Historically stating that despite significant adversity in his last few years, he did not run away from - but ran straight through his struggles.
Whether or not you liked who Kobe was, his prowess on the basketball court was indisputable and there are definitely some lessons to be learned about becoming great.