Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, critics and more, in his own words | CNN (2024)

Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, critics and more, in his own words | CNN (1)

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Hear Kobe Bryant's first interview as pro NBA player

01:33 - Source: CNN

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On Sunday, the world lost Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend who was indisputably so much more, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers adjusts his jersey during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Christian Petersen/Getty Images Kobe Bryant dies at 41.

Over the years Bryant inspired countless people, and not just athletes. His influence stretched far beyond sports, touching art, culture, business and his family.

And over the years he shared his own thoughts and wisdom on a wide range of subjects. Here’s the late Kobe Bryant, in his own words.

On sacrifice

“We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision.”

Source: Showtime’s “Muse” / CBS Sports

On the cultural contributions of black athletes

“(They’ve been) crucial. What we stand for, what America stands for, the cultural melting pot that is America, the diversity that is America, it’s all about moving that culture forward. From Muhammad Ali to Bill Russell, that’s what they’ve done, that’s what they’ve pioneered and its our responsibility to try to carry it forward.”

Source: ESPN

On leadership

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 03: Retired NBA Champion, CEO, Kobe Inc., Kobe Bryant speaks onstage during 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton on May 03, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Kobe Bryant leaves behind a business empire that stretched beyond the basketball court.

“To be an effective leader, you have to be a really good listener and not to what’s being said, but to what’s not being said. You have to be really observant. That was a big transition for me. I went from being a scorer and a floor general … to being a leader and that meant putting others first. That means not worrying about are you in rhythm, are you playing well in this game, are you ready to go, to being, are they ready? What can I do to help them be ready?”

Source: Alabama Football / ESPN

On his critics

“I’ve shot too much from the time I was 8 years old. But ‘too much’ is a matter of perspective. Some people thought Mozart had too many notes in his compositions. Let me put it this way: I entertain people who say I shoot too much. I find it very interesting. Going back to Mozart, he responded to critics by saying there were neither too many notes or too few. There were as many as necessary.”

Source: GQ

Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, critics and more, in his own words | CNN (4)

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates victory following Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic in June 2009.

On selling yourself

“Be yourself. That’s it. Be you. There’s no gimmick. You don’t have to contrive anything. Who are you? Where are you today? What is your story? And all you’re doing is communicating that story to the public.”

Source: Bloomberg

On fear of failure

Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, critics and more, in his own words | CNN (5)

Kobe Bryant reacts in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center in April 2016.

“You’ve got to step up and play, man. You can’t worry about criticism. You can’t worry about failure. You really can’t worry about that stuff. You’ve got to go out and figure that out and play and do the best you can, and whatever happens, happens. You can’t be held captive by the fear of failure or the fear of what people may say.”

Source: ESPN

On being intimidated

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after winning over the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images An NBA legend who was also a cultural icon: Kobe Bryant.

“My mind doesn’t work that way. It’s something that’s never even entered my thought process. 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.”

Source: ESPN

On raising his daughter, Gianna

Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, critics and more, in his own words | CNN (7)

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game in July 2019.

“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy … You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.’ “She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this. Don’t need no boy for that.’ I’m like, that’s right. Yes you do, you got this.”

Source: ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Kobe Bryant on leadership, failure, critics and more, in his own words | CNN (2024)
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