You don't have to be a basketball fan or even a Los Angeles Lakers fan to have been rocked by the shocking news. Yes, Kobe Bryant -- the Black Mamba, a five-time world-champion and arguably one of the top five NBA players to ever don a jersey -- left us earlier this morning when the helicopter he was in crashed in the Los Angeles area. He was 41.
Kobe wasn't just another wealthy high-profile athlete -- there are plenty of those around these days. He was a winner, iconic businessman, and venture capitalist who owned and grew brands in the sports industry and invested millions in different businesses including media, data, gaming, and technology.
To celebrate Kobe's legacy, I have selected 15 of the best quotes captured over his 20-year basketball career and recent retirement that will help inspire entrepreneurs everywhere.
On chasing success
"When you make a choice and say, 'Come hell or high water, I am going to be this,' then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that is intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that ... when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time, because it has been [in your mind] the whole time."
- "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. No matter what the injury -- unless it's completely debilitating -- I'm going to be the same player I've always been. I'll figure it out. I'll make some tweaks, some changes, but I'm still coming."
- "Everything negative -- pressure, challenges -- is all an opportunity for me to rise."
"The important thing is that your teammates have to know you're pulling for them and you really want them to be successful."
On hard work
- "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."
- "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."
- "The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win"
"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."
On overcoming fear
"The last time I was intimidated was when I was 6 years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s--less. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my ass. But then I realized he didn't kick my ass as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of. That was around the time I realized that intimidation didn't really exist if you're in the right frame of mind."
- "I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it."
- "Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success."
- "When we are saying this cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done, then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain, it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself, 'You are a failure,' I think that is almost worse than dying."