I admit I’m guilty of sometimes letting one moment in a person’s life define them, even though I know it doesn’t. It seems like we’re harder on celebrities when they fall, too. Always in the spotlight, their public lives don’t get the separation from their private lives as much as a “normal person.”
Kobe was no different. Seeing him play for a franchise that was easy to hate — because of all their bandwagon fans due to their storied history of success — made it easy to not like him from jump street.
I grew up in an era of watching Michael Jordan dominate the league. To see a player who allegedly rivaled the GOAT turned many, including myself, into Kobe critics — much like the treatment LeBron received for years.
I always gave credit where it was due on the basketball court. Kobe was second only to MJ and it wasn’t even close. The dude could straight up ball.
All Fall Short
When Kobe’s sin became world wide news and was plastered on every TV and newspaper stand, it made it that much easier to not like the guy. And then to see his wife so easily forgive him for what he had done, that didn’t sit well with me.
Even through his retirement in 2016, I always viewed him as a scumbag because he was unfaithful to his wife. Great at basketball, but a crap human being.
Two Lessons I’ve Learned from Kobe Bryant
- Your mistakes do not define who you are.
I learned that I would NEVER want someone to only remember me for my biggest gaffes or snafus.
In fact, no one should be remembered for their biggest screw-up. We all mess up, but to only remember our biggest blunder and to let that overshadow a lifetime of success and excellence is a ghastly mistake. And I was guilty as charged.
“I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.” -Kobe Bryant
Had I been the one who was a crap human being for thinking the way I used to think? Was I the scumbag for denying the grace and power of forgiveness and repentance? I’m so glad my colossal mistakes are not international news!
2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
The second thing I did was learned, yet again, to not judge a book by it’s cover. I feel like I never fully grasp this concept since it seems to subconsciously work it’s way into my thinking over and over.
I listened to a podcast last summer called One Plus One. This series is from Wondery, the company behind the hit podcasts Business Wars and American Scandal. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts. One Plus One is a series that “will bring you the ups and downs of the world’s greatest collaborations, and what we can learn from these pairs in our own work and life relationships.” The first season was about Kobe and Shaq.
If you haven’t listened to “Kobe and Shaq” on the first season of One Plus One, do yourself a favor and do it this week. You’ll learn a whole side of Kobe that most of the world may not have known. My mind was blown when I heard about his quiet and normal life off the court.
Kobe’s work ethic and determination were second to none. His relationship with his parents, especially his mother, was phenomenal and very close. His passion for the game and his singleness of purpose was unmatched. His love for his own family was rock solid. The dude literally made one giant mistake in his 41 years on this earth and it was a private matter that needed to stay that way — not a story for the 24/7 news cycle.
Devastation and Heartbreak.
I can’t imagine what he was thinking as that plane was going down, knowing that the inevitable was about to happen. After listening to the podcast above and learning more about Kobe Bryant the person, I can’t fathom what was going through his mind as he held his daughter for what he knew was going to be the last time. I now know he was the kind of person who’d be more concerned about his little girl. As a father of four, with two little girls of my own, my heart aches with sorrow.
I normally don’t post or write about celebrity deaths. I just feel this one was different. Having experienced and learned what I had about Kobe Bryant, I felt like sharing these thoughts as a reminder to us all that:
1. You’re not defined by your biggest mistakes or sins.
2. Everyone could use more Mamba Mentality in their life
3. Hug your family members and never let the devil get a foothold on you and the people you love.