Kobe Bryant’s last game
I’m done! Your turn. Rauss out. (#Day100)
Cars streamed by outside during another frenetic Wednesday night in New York City. The table was set for a spectacle. Seven University of Michigan graduates anxiously prepared to witness history, the end of a cultural, marketing, and athletic era wrapped into 48 minutes of basketball.
On the night of #Day87 , Kobe Bryant ceremoniously geared up to play his final NBA game after 20 relentless years in the spotlight. “He’s gonna drop 50 tonight!!” Blanco mentioned. “60!!!” someone else yelled. We all believed in Kobe and knew that he would show up in his final game to go out with a bang.
What we couldn’t realize during pregame, however, was the extreme degree and persistence that Kobe would push himself through to cap it all off with a stylistic, vindicated, and self-righteous performance. Any millennial watching remembered Kobe during his ascendance to stardom from Lower Merion High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia to NBA superstar. Kobe was that Italian kid who showed up in America with a chip on his shoulder before changing the landscape of the NBA throughout the 2000’s. Kobe Bryant finished his career with the 3rd most points in the history of the league.
Kobe Bryant’s attitude was so unique that it altered our view of basketball. Whether he was a member on a winning team or losing one, Kobe did not stop shooting. For this, he became a legendary, great player. His fearless style is divisive but it’s proven to be dogmatically effective while inspiring an entire generation to exclaim “Kobe!” while throwing a crumbled up piece of paper into a trashcan.
Kobe didn’t care what others thought about him. Yes, he wanted to be remembered as great, but knew that this may come at the cost of support from many in the media or even from teammates. Kobe’s tenacity is reminiscent of Steve Jobs or Michael Jordan, and they aren’t exactly known to be charming. All 3 of these leaders played their respective games a certain way, leveraging free will and determination to lead their teams to victory.
On that night in Los Angeles versus the Utah Jazz, Kobe Bryant took the game into his own hands and played by his own rules, directly reflecting the work of his entire career. Kobe’s unique and confident style combined with world-class ability, god gifted athleticism, and mental toughness garnered a diverse and global fanbase while igniting fear and disdain from opposing fans as they watched Kobe win a historic 5 NBA titles.
Below are the career leaders for missed shots in NBA history:
Kobe Bryant has missed more shots than anyone in NBA history. Despite all these failed attempts, it didn’t stop him from continually going for it, striving for greatness night in and night. This same attitude should apply to entrepreneurship.
Kobe was determined to find ways to create opportunities for his teammates and himself in pursuit of championships. To his critics, Kobe likely would echo the phrase “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
Towards the latter years of Kobe’s career, statistics permeated their way deeper and deeper into the psyche of the NBA. A player taking 25 shots in a game became increasingly rare, and teams like the Warriors, Rockets, and Hawks found success through shooting more three-point shots in a season than any time in NBA history, transitioning away from long two point shots and forced attempts on isolation plays.
The “Iverson position” was fading away from the league, even on bad teams with a star player. Sacrificing 2–3% on a shot in exchange for allowing the star player to shoot more is outdated and faux-pas among NBA dignitaries. The underlying reality as a result of this statistical shift in perspective is that if Kobe can shoot 44% and score 60 points, so could Ish Smith were his teammates and coach to allow him to take so many shots.
This equalizing and demeaning outlook which grew in recent years around the actual level of success of Kobe Bryant’s career did not deter him in his final game. If anything, it motivated him and he made a statement unlike any other player in his generation or generations before.
In the video above, Mr. Smith discusses his sense of self-belief, visioning, and drive towards being the best. A story of how Will’s father once made his brother and him build a wall by hand, brick-by-brick demonstrated the foundation for Mr. Smith’s worldview.
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, but if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things; either you’re going to get off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.” — Will Smith
“There’s a certain delusional quality that successful people have to have. Because if you want your name to be written as a part of history, you have to believe that something different can happen.” — Will Smith
“One of my favorite books is The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo. And I just believe that. That I can create whatever I want to create. The first step before anyone else believes it is that you have to believe it.” — Will Smith
“Confucius says that ‘he who says he can, and he who says he can’t are usually right.’… Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” — Will Smith
Another celebrity from Los Angeles, James Franco, practiced his accents so extensively that he even took to performing them for customers while working as a drive through attendee at McDonald’s. Probably would have been difficult in that moment to imagine the future successes that would follow.
Through their work and active livelihoods in the Los Angeles area, I know that James Franco and Kobe are aware of one another. Kobe Bryant takes on a similarly determined demeanor. He practices harder than anyone. It is not a coincidence that Franco and Kobe are now celebrities and masters at their respective crafts.
That mid-week night, Kobe went off. He stole the show from the Warriors on the night of their 73rd win. Our and his dreams came true, as Kobe put up an astounding 60 points on 50 shots. He started off the game cold and anxious, but over time reality settled in. Kobe was going to shoot either way, even if he continually missed. By the end, practice had paid off as Kobe started performing and draining shot after shot after shot. Mr. Bryant literally willed the Lakers to victory in his final game, putting up 23 points in the fourth quarter and becoming the oldest player ever at age 37 to hit that historic point threshold.
Fascinatingly, the most controversial posts throughout the series very often had nearly exactly 50% read ratings, with some being so controversial that they generated a sufficient amount of trolls and doubters. This, however, captured people’s attention. As Donald Trump media antics have shown, media in 2016 plays by different rules. Sam Altman and Barack Obama may not have responded to me yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying.
100DaysOfBlogging started off very innocently and then took some crazy turns. I’m happy to have learned from these difficult times early on in pursuit of becoming a better writer. These seemingly crazy attempts were motivated through a fortune cookie that I opened at the beginning of the campaign. It read:
“Only one who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.”
Like Kobe, I left everything on the table in 100DaysOfBlogging. Much of the emotion from my earlier posts was associated with disappointment around my failed startup attempt working alongside Kinnard this past summer and fall. No one told me what to write or what not to write, and the raw nature of my writing style has differentiated myself as a technology journalist.
Remember, when I tell people that Bitcoin is the most important innovation since the World Wide Web, the more times I say it aloud the more likely they are to research it and subsequently understand it, see its utopian potential, and believe it.
100DaysOfBlogging seemed like an impossibility. As would be getting into YC. But we can’t shy away from obstacles that appear difficult. As Nelson Mandela put it:
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible. Then they seem improbable. And then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” — Nelson Mandela
While impossibility may not seem possible, this outlook is limiting to the realities that we create for ourselves. Confidence goes a long way:
All in all, 100DaysOfBlogging is a campaign to encourage thought. To channel the energy that Jalen, Will Smith, and Kobe were bringing to their game. To mimic other successful people like Brezh.
Everyone has the capability within them to express their thoughts. We all think deep or little shared world-views, yet only some of us share these. Oftentimes, we would rather stay quiet and not take those chances, particularly with expression on social media but also in life more largely.
At the beginning of the campaign, I said that if at least one other person started and completed their own #100DaysOfBlogging marathon, I would consider this journey a success.
Looks like I’m the first one here. But I know others will find this post and the aforementioned 100 posts.
I know that I won’t be the only one to cross the finish line, and am offering right now to provide feedback along the way to anyone who undertakes the challenge.
For the record — Kobe should go for 100 points in a game at the Olympics this summer.
That’s all for now. That’s my story. Hope you enjoyed.
#Day100 , #100DaysOfBlogging