Kobe Bryant is one of the most influential competitors to have ever played the game of basketball. He is a living legend.
As a thin teenager, Kobe grew up in a league of men and became a target for ridicule and praise.
Kobe showed flashes of greatness, yet he faced adversity. He shot the ball obsessively and seldom did he make his shots.
Enthusiasts applauded Kobe’s fearlessness, while critics accused him of selfishness. Despite his foes and countless flaws, Kobe would go on to become a prolific scorer.
Indeed, Kobe does have an intimidating ego. The feud between Kobe and his former MVP teammate Shaquille O’Neal is well documented. Kobe questioned Shaq’s commitment, while Shaq thought that Kobe was arrogant. Regardless, Shaq and Kobe became one of the most unstoppable guard-post combos the NBA has ever seen.
Kobe and other superstar scorers (like Steph Curry and LeBron James) are basketball legends. Considered to be one of the finest athletes of all time, Kobe impacts the world through his commitment to excellence. He dominated the NBA with his explosiveness, mental edge and will to succeed.
Kobe’s love for competition is timeless, but on November 29, 2015 Kobe announced his decision to retire at the end of this season.
His life is full of twists. He has multiple interests. He seeks advice from the richest people in the world. Without further ado, here are the 10 most incredible things you didn’t know about Kobe Bryant…
10. Kobe Studied NBA Tapes At 3
Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philly, PA. He started playing basketball at the incredibly young age of 2. At 3, Kobe was studying NBA tapes.
Also, Kobe was the youngest of three siblings. An article on the psychology behind ‘youngest children’ states, “The youngest child… discovers that he is surrounded by more capable adults who can do many of the things he can’t do. As a result of this situation the youngest child becomes overly ambitious and highly competitive… The ones who make changes to the world as a result of their extreme ambition and fighting spirit.”
Moreover, Kobe became the third youngest player drafted into the NBA. He was 18. That same year, he became the youngest player to ever win the NBA slam-dunk contest. A year later, Kobe became the youngest player to become an NBA All-Star. He was 19.
9. Kobe And Michael Jackson Were Bros
Kobe said, “Michael was my mentor.” He visited the King of Pop at Neverland Ranch and revealed that one time he feared that his car would run out of gas on the way there. Then, Michael told Kobe not to worry and that he had a personal gas station for his ranch.
While on Jimmy Kimmel, Kobe was asked about Michael. Kobe said that he’d been a friend of Michael’s since he was 18.
Kobe recalled Michael explaining the success of Thriller. They discussed “process”, how Michael “trained” and preparation.
Michael would go “step-by-step” on how he composed music, while revealing to Kobe who inspired him the most. According to Kobe, Michael studied The Beatles and would “break down each note”.
Kobe also claims that Michael tried to teach him meditation. Kobe said, “…Michael tried to get me to meditate… he could sit in meditation for seven hours. …I could sit still for 20 minutes.”
8. Kobe’s Incredibly Insane Workouts
One of the things that make Kobe so rare and spectacular is his incredibly insane work ethic.
Kobe calls his trainer at 3:30 a.m. He wants to make 800 shots before practice. He doesn’t leave practice until he makes 400 shots. He strength trains. Then, he heads to the weight room.
Rarely does Kobe sit and do nothing.
Kobe’s trainer: “It took me about 20 minutes to get my gear and [get] out of the hotel. When I arrived and opened the door to the main practice floor I saw Kobe. Alone. He was drenched in sweat as if he had just taken a swim. It wasn’t even 5:00 a.m.”
During the 2008 Olympics, Kobe was named team captain. He changed his diet. He lost weight. He lifted weights to add bulk. He did push-up to planks. Then, Kobe and the USA basketball team won the gold medal over Spain. Incredible.
7. He Cold Calls Billionaires
Kobe is an extremely curious person who has access to some of the richest thinkers of our time.
In Bloomberg Business, Kobe revealed: “I’ll just cold call people, absolutely. I’ll… pick their brain about stuff… if I don’t know, I don’t know. You have to ask. I’ll just do that. I’ll just ask questions and I want to know more about how they build their businesses and how they run their companies and how they see the world.”
Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman then asked: “Who are some of the people…?”
Kobe isn’t afraid to approach anyone with questions. He calls billionaires, celebrities and world leaders. He even probed former president Bill Clinton about what books he should read.
6. He Swept His High School Championships
“Jelly Bean” Bryant moved Kobe and the family to Italy when his NBA career ended. Kobe didn’t return to Philly until his mid-teenage years.
When Kobe finally returned in 1991, he enrolled at Merion High School. It was in his high school years that he was able to grow physically and emotionally. Kobe’s dad wanted his prodigy to maximize potential and further utilize his intellect as a basketball player.
As a freshman, Kobe tried out for the Merion High varsity team. He not only made varsity, but contributed by leading the team to a victory in the state championship.
The following year, Kobe and his team won anther state championship! What happened in Kobe’s junior year? Incredibly, Kobe and his teammates at Merion High School won a third-consecutive state title that year.
During Kobe’s senior year of high school, he took singer Brandy to the prom and of course, won another championship with his friends.
5. He Is Incredibly Smart
How was Kobe able to cope with the pressures of family, friends, girls and school? Well, it helped that Kobe is incredibly smart.
Kobe aced classes and scored high test-scores. It was reported that Kobe didn’t need to study for long hours, because he had effortless learning skills matched with sharp focus. His G.P.A ranged from 3.3 to 4.0.
Kobe is fluent in Italian, French, Serbian and English.
Kobe is a student of academia and the game of basketball. When the NBA offered Kobe a million-dollar contract, Kobe bet on his heart and decided not to pursue college.
A few years ago, Kobe taught himself how to play the piano by ear. “Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata calms me down when I reach my breaking point,” Kobe tweeted.
Today, Kobe crashes college classrooms. He randomly went to a Boston College business course and jolted down a few notes. CBSsports.com reported that Kobe continues to take informal and non-credit courses at the University of Miami.
4. The Black Mamba
Kobe created the alter ego known as the Black Mamba.
According to lakernation.com, “After the sexual assault allegations back in 2003, Kobe Bryant adopted the nickname, Black Mamba, as a way of coping with the ordeal that almost derailed his career as a superstar in the NBA.”
Kobe told The New Yorker that he was inspired to give himself his nickname after watching Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol.1. In the movie, the snake, known for its agility and aggressiveness, was used as a code name for a deadly assassin.
Kobe said: “I read up on the animal and said, ‘Wow, this is pretty awesome’. It is a perfect description of how I would want my game to be.”
Kobe recommitted himself to the game of basketball and his family. He restored his reputation and lived up to the expectations of his regenerative nickname.
Incredibly, the Black Mamba scored a career-best 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.
3. Kobe to Jordan: “You know I can kick your a** one on one?”
Kobe grew up idolizing Michael Jordan, but he never feared him.
Kobe and Jordan were both coached by Phil Jackson. Jackson confessed that Kobe was obsessed with surpassing Jordan’s title as the greatest ever.
When Jackson arranged for Kobe and Jordan to meet, Kobe’s first words to Jordan were: “You know I can kick your a** one on one?”
Mid-career, Kobe suspiciously changed his number 8 jersey to one number above Jordan’s number 23 jersey.
Kobe surpassed Jordan’s scoring record, but Jordan is 6 for 6 in the NBA finals. Their passionate rivalry created a mutual respect. Years later, Kobe called Jordan before he made the decision to retire.
Kobe: “[Jordan] is actually one of the first people that I told. We’ve been in frequent contact. We had some laughs, went back and forth about it… he said, ‘…No matter what, just enjoy it. Don’t let anybody take that away from you, no matter what happens, good or bad.’”
2. Kobe and Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee is the one of the greatest martial artists to have lived. He is also known for being an action film actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, filmmaker, and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. A few of Lee’s movies include Enter the Dragon and The Way of the Dragon.
Bruce Lee is also one of Kobe’s biggest inspirations. Kobe credits Lee for his love for China and also appeared in the documentary called I Am Bruce Lee.
Kobe has studied Lee’s philosophies and is appreciative of his wisdom. Kobe said: “It seems [like] Bruce Lee has nothing to do with basketball. To me it has everything to do with basketball.” Ironically, Lee trained fellow Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Moreover, Kobe is interested in the Chinese energy concept of Qi. He believes that there is a connection between Lee’s philosophies, Qi and basketball. He is also intrigued by Lee’s theory on form. Lee’s quote states: “You must be shapeless, formless, like water… Become like water my friend.”
1. Kobe’s Incredible Net Worth
After his last high school game in his hometown, Kobe revealed that he dreamed of being a Philadelphia 76er. Though, the Charlotte Hornets drafted and then, traded Kobe to the Los Angeles Lakers. The rest is history. Kobe became a Laker for life. He is among the likes of Magic Johnson and Jerry West. He is playing in his 20th NBA season. This feat will surpass John Stockton’s previous held record and make Kobe the NBA player with the most seasons with one team.
Kobe uses his influence for good. The Kobe Bryant China Fund raises money for needy children from China and the United States. KBCF has raised more than $6.15 million. One of Kobe’s most generous charitable donations was worth $5 million!
The proud husband and father of two girls has an incredible net worth of $360 million! Kobe accumulated his wealth via lavish basketball contracts, endorsements, business endeavors and more.