The Mamba In You…
I can start now…
Intentionally, I waited 24 minutes after the watching the Celebration Of Life For Kobe and Gianna Bryant ended. I needed those visuals. It still hadn’t seemed real until then. I wanted to share my thought many times, I just couldn’t find the words. I wasn’t ready to start either. I turned the channel, I scrolled past posts on my timeline because the pain was overbearing.
Vanessa Bryant found the words. Beautifully and Succinctfully she did…
So alas, I can start now…
Forgive me if I don’t measure up…I am not complete.
And I’ve been holding these emotions in, but I wanted them to fester
I wanted them to cleanse me.
I wanted them to recalibrate my body.
I wanted somehow to harness the heaviness of this tragedy to help me appreciate life’s blessings just a little more.
I needed a reminder. I think we all did.
You see, I haven’t been doing my very best to achieve my goals. I want to lose weight but I love Turkey Burgers and Waffles Fries too much.
I want to travel the world, see the Serengeti but I settle on a steady rotation of the same destinations, never expanding my horizons.
And other trivial things I need to get better at but I always think, in due time, I’ll get there.
In. Due. Time. I. Will. Get. There.
I want more out of my life but my vices defeat my virtues every time.
What does this have to do with Kobe Bryant?
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they have to do”
That’s what Mamba Mentality is, and that’s why it resonated with me.
As a lifelong Laker fan, the colors purple and gold are as clear to me as the rays of the Sun. I idolized Magic Johnson growing up. I wore number 33 like he did in college. The first pair of sneakers I ever bought with my own money where the “Magic” Converse Weapons.
I thought for sure he would be my favorite athlete of all time. Then in 1996, a meteor came to Earth with the youthful exuberance of a bouncy toddler and the ferocious savagery of a pack of King Cobras.
Or just one: Black Mamba
We all know the exploits of Kobe on the court. On the court, he was like the flow of Nas. Silky. Melodic. Mind Numbing.
The dead eye fadeaways, the breakaway dunks, the fust pumps, the clutch buzzer beaters. His physical gifts belie the metrics of his six foot six body.
It was what was stored in the center of his cerebrum that made him the best.
His insatiable desire to beat opponents before he ever entered into the arena.
I remember a story I heard about when Trevor Ariza became a Laker. He and Kobe had agreed to workout at 4. Trevor was ready early and when 4:00 in the afternoon came around, there was no sign of Kobe. Puzzled, Ariza brushed it off and went about his day. In the wee hours of the morning, Ariza hears noises outside his home. He opens the door at three thirty in the morning to find a sweat soaked Kobe Bryant in his driveway. “You ready”? Kobe said. Ariza had assumed Kobe meant 4pm. He thought Kobe was late.
He assumed wrong. Kobe was a half hour early. Very, very early.
That was who he was. Away from the camera lens and away from the gallery of reporters, Kobe was in constant preparation.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance, as the saying goes.
Seems to mean so much more now, doesn’t it?
As I stare out into the Miami skyline as I’m typing this, and after witnessing the likes of Michael Jordan, Beyonce, Shaq, Jimmy Kimmel and others visibly shaken while eulogizing Kobe and Gigi, I reflect on my own life.
Am I maximizing my potential?
And I procrastinating too much?
And I overestimating my successes?
And I destined to be incomplete in pursuit of my dreams?
Because, you see, Kobe was more proud to be a Father and Husband than he was a basketball player. And yet, the world knows him as 33(High School), 10 (Olympics), 8 and 24.
His second act was going to be as more meaningful than the first. Taking his cues from Magic, he was an investor and entrepreneur, a visionary and a conscious citizen who knew his star power could ignite a nation.
How do we, as a nation, manifest his deeds?
How do we carry the Mamba Mentality in our respectives lives?
What can I do to honor his legacy besides buying jerseys and memorabilia?
Should I visit kids in the hospitals with Make-A-Wish Foundation, give to more charities, mentor a struggling student, help the homeless, go to church more, donate more toys during the holidays, call my family more often, hug my loved ones longer, be more compassionate, love deeper and more intensely?
Yes to all of those things.
Because that was the embodiment of Kobe Bean Bryant, not a perfect man but a man perfectly cognizant of what he wanted to achieve and had the audacity to seek that perfection. In everything.
Friends and Foes alike, don’t make this about basketball. Or the arguments about who was a better player.
Find solace in the assertion that Kobe was uniquely fixated with and fascinated by outworking his opponents and injecting the world with his venom.
Venom is the secretion that contains enzymes that facilitate the immobilization and digestion of prey, and defense against all threats.
There is one such animal which these characteristics…
Unleash your #MambaMentality to be the best version of yourself.
Mamba Out. Rest in Eternal Peace Kobe and Gigi