Sunday, January 26, 2020, will be a day that I will never forget. A day that started off like any other, but ended like no other. A day that the world stopped as it learned about one of its fallen heroes. It was the day that Kobe Bryant, with his 13 year old daughter Gianna, and 7 other souls died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
To say I am shocked and saddened would be an understatement. Kobe meant so much to me. So much that I feel compelled to honor him the only way that I know how. By sharing how he made an impact in my life.
So here goes...
It was 1998, and I was a 17 year old kid that just found out that he was going to be a father. Needless to say, I experienced a lot of change and adversity in a very short period of time. I had to grow up fast and start coming up with a plan.
I realized quickly that I needed to make more money. This meant that I would have to find a “real” job. The problem was, I was inexperienced in just about everything. Somehow I would have to convince a company to take a chance on me and find a way to make up for my lack of experience.
At the time this was a daunting task.
I doubted myself on every level. Questioning every little thing. I didn’t have enough self confidence to believe in myself, let alone make someone else believe in me.
This is when Kobe and the Mamba Mentality came in.
I started thinking about how he must have felt during his rookie season when he came into the league straight out of high school at the age of 17.
I imagined the courage and confidence that it must have taken for him to be successful in that situation. How his self confidence had to be off the charts for him to believe that he belonged on the court with all of those professionals. All of those adults.
It sounds silly, but this gave me the courage to press forward in my situation. It helped me find the courage and self confidence to overcome my fears.
Kobe showed me that I didn’t need experience to be successful. That I could cancel out my inexperience by working hard. Also, that experience would come by trusting the process.
I followed Kobe’s example and eventually found my opportunity to be successful in. I ended up staying in that field for almost 20 years!
Kobe gave me a blue print. He showed me what right looked like.
He taught me to:
- Respect the process of Success by putting in the Work.
- Believe in Myself, even when others won’t.
- Love what I do and Compete hard at it every day.
- Be the Best that I could be at all times and strive to be even Better.
- Never Waste a Moment.
I’ll always be grateful for these invaluable lessons.
And as I embark on this new Sports Cards endeavor, I find myself relying on his lessons even more. I feel the same fear and self doubt that I felt as a 17 year old kid, except this time i’m equipped with the right mentality to handle it.
The Mamba Mentality.
I’ll never forget Kobe Bryant and the lessons that he taught me. I’ll remember him as being the epitome of hard work and all the traits of success working in unison. A relentless competitor and leader. A mentor and teacher.
But most of all, my Hero.
Thank you, Kobe.