Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


America likes to divide people up into two categories: Winners and people who don't matter.

Winners are born, not made. Winners aren't born, they're self-made. Oh, you choose which one you believe. You have to believe one, however. At least one.

Once winners have won, they're often asked why they won. Perhaps they know. Perhaps they just make something up.

Some, though, decide they hold some all-encompassing knowledge about winning that makes them the eternal winners they are.

This seems to be the case with Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant.

He was asked his opinion of the Golden State Warriors, who won the NBA championship last season and who this season have already broken the NBA record by beginning the season 16-0.

Bryant mused: "The challenge for (the Warriors) is going to be conflict. You've got to have some kind of internal conflict thing. It keeps the team on edge. If not, it becomes so easy that you just kind of coast. You kind of fall into a malaise."

Some might wonder: How would he know? His teams have always seemed to be garlanded with more conflict than a late night in an ugly Bakersfield bar.

But Bryant isn't alone in believing that you have to spice up the conflict to produce a winner.

Some CEOs adore pitting one underling against another in the belief that it will motivate them more. Many sports coaches, too, love to constantly needle and manipulate in order to achieve success.

The odd thing is that with the Warriors, one always gets the impression that there is a mutual respect. How sick.

Indeed, before the game against the Lakers in which they clinched their record, ailing coach Steve Kerr emphasized "joy" as a key ingredient of their triumphs.

Which leads one less to think about winning and more, perhaps, about Kobe Bryant.

Could it be that in believing that all teams need conflict, he was merely describing himself?

Despite being on five NBA championship teams, it's always seemed as if he's not getting on with one player or another (Hullo, Shaq the Legend. How are you?) or even a coach (every coach).

In his book The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul, quintessential Lakers coach Phil Jackson called Bryant "un-coachable." This might be related to some believing that Bryant wouldn't have been much of a winner without the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol.

It must frustrate Bryant -- as it does many in the NBA -- to see the apparently conflict-free, insanely cheery, ridiculously team-oriented Warriors winning without rancor and mutual loathing.

They don't even do off-the-record interviews to say how despicable they find, say, Stephen Curry. They don't mutter to their favorite reporter that Draymond Green is a little too Michigan.

Perhaps, then, it isn't worth believing that breathing fire, fighting your co-workers, machinating against them and generally being a self-centered toad's bottom is the only way to ensure success.

It might be Kobe Bryant's way.

But he was always more Snarltime than Showtime, wasn't he?