Kobe Bryant – Untold Stories with Patrick Bet-David

Key Takeaways

  • At 13-years-old, Kobe knew he wanted to be one of the best basketball players to ever play
    • “Anything else that was outside of that lane, I didn’t have time for” – Kobe Bryant
  • Also at age 13, Kobe had a “Kill List”
    • He was ranked the 57th best high school basketball player in the U.S., and his mission was to find the 56 people above him and “hunt them down and knock them down”
  • Who else was as crazy about basketball as Kobe?
    • He refers to this group of people as “Goat Mountain” and includes: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jerry West, Oscar Robinson, and Bill Russell
  • When the game is more important than the injury itself, you don’t feel that damn injury” – Kobe Bryant
  • Kobe loves watching movies; he’ll usually watch a film multiple times, wearing a different hat with each watch:
    • First, he watches it as a fan
    • Then, he watches it from a director’s lens
    • Then, he pays close attention to the lighting and music
    • Finally, he’ll watch it a fourth time, but without music or sound, to better understand the director’s point of view 
  • Back when Kobe played, he had an alter ego he would switch to before every game, facilitated by the Halloween theme song

Intro

  • Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) is a former professional basketball player. He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships, playing his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Host: Patrick Bet-David (@patrickbetdavid)

Kobe’s Early Years

  • Kobe describes himself as being extremely curious
  • At 13-years-old, Kobe knew he wanted to be one of the best basketball players to ever play
    • “Anything else that was outside of that lane, I didn’t have time for” Kobe Bryant
      • “Basketball, for me, was the most important thing”
  • Kobe is extremely competitive, but only with things he cares about (such as basketball or storytelling, he doesn’t really care about golf or other activities)
    • Michael Jordan on the other hand, Kobe says, is competitive over everything 
  • Kobe had only one goal early in his life: Become a better basketball player
    • Every book he read, TV show he watched, or person he talked too, was all done to become a better player
  • At 13-years-old, Kobe had a “Kill List”
    • He was ranked the 57th best high school basketball player in the U.S., and his mission was to find the 56 people above him and “hunt them down and knock them down”
  • While a lot of players only focused on their strengths, Kobe was constantly working on improving his weaknesses to become a well-rounded player

Life in The NBA

  • Kobe noticed that a lot of NBA players weren’t passionate about the game; once they made into the league and become financially stable, they lost their obsession with becoming the best
    • Kobe, on the other hand, was okay with making basketball a priority, and not spending much time on his relationships or social life
      • Just how much of a priority? – Kobe would never “hang out just to hang out.” Here’s why:
        • “Because when I retired, I didn’t want to have to say I wish I would have done more. I didn’t want that.”Kobe Bryant
  • What other players were as crazy about basketball as Kobe?
    • Kobe refers to this group of people as “Goat Mountain” and includes: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jerry West, Oscar Robinson, and Bill Russell
      • Kobe sees Michael Jordan as his big brother – the two are still very close

Basketball Mindset

  • When Kobe once shot 5 airballs in an important game, he didn’t feel embarrassed because he knew, in the grand scheme of things, he wasn’t that important
    • The important thing to do is to figure out WHY those airballs happened
  • Kobe stayed disciplined about basketball every day for 20 years!
    • Who would Shaq be if he had Kobe’s work ethic?
      • “He’d be the greatest of all-time” – Kobe Bryant
      • Kobe believes he and Shaq would have had fewer fights if Shaq worked harder
        • ”I don’t deal with people that don’t commit at that level but then act as if they do”
        • Kobe and Shaq even got into a fist-fight one time 
  • Kobe once played a game on no sleep!
    • (His daughter had a certain health issue, forcing him to stay up all night)
  • Kobe believes in playing every game possible, even if you aren’t feeling 100%
    • Why? – People pay to watch you play with their hard-earned money
    • Kobe has played with back spasms, a 102-degree fever, with no sleep, etc.
  • How does Kobe manage to play basketball at such a high level despite being injured?
    • He views the game as more important than the injury
      • When the game is more important than the injury itself, you don’t feel that damn injury” – Kobe Bryant

Kobe’s Alter Ego

  • Back when Kobe played, he had an alter ego he would switch to before every game, facilitated by the Halloween theme song
    • Just as an actor becomes someone else on stage, Kobe did the same thing
    • “When I’m in that cage, don’t f*cking touch me and don’t talk to me. Just leave me alone.” –Kobe Bryant

Getting Into Storytelling

  • After finishing his basketball career, Kobe decided to pursue a new passion – storytelling
    • “I’m going to do something in the next 20 years that is better than these last 20 years”Kobe Bryant
  • Kobe doesn’t look for projects that he knows his employees can write or animate; he seeks out projects that make people say, “I don’t know if I can do that”
    • Why? This forces them to new levels and increases the odds that they create something truly special
  • Kobe loves watching movies; he’ll usually watch a film multiple times, wearing a different hat with each watch:
    • First, he watches it as a fan
    • Then, he watches it from a director’s lens
    • Then, he pays close attention to the lighting and music
    • Finally, he’ll watch it a fourth time, but without music or sound, to better understand the director’s point of view 

Lessons on Hiring

  • When hiring, Kobe looks for people who are obsessive about their craft and have a large knowledge base of its history, Then, he simply allows them to do what he hired them for.
    • “I’m not going to hire you to tell you how to do your job” – Kobe Bryant
  • How does Kobe recruit people?
    • “If you want first place, come with me. If you want second place, go somewhere else.” Kobe Bryant

What questions does Kobe ask before getting involved in a business?

  • Do you understand the business?
  • What are the barriers to entry?
  • Who are the entrepreneurs?
  • Have they created a culture of obsessiveness? 

Additional Notes

  • Kobe says his wife is just as competitive as he is. If he was going to be away from home for 9 months out of the year, she wanted him to win a championship.
  • Kobe’s quite the family man
    • During an NBA season, he and his wife would jot down all of the important dates that they needed to spend together and figure out a plan for each one (birthdays, holidays, etc.).
      • Kobe would often catch a flight to make an important event, such as his daughter’s birthday party, and then fly back to where his team was staying
  • Kobe views Phil Jackson as a father figure, not just a coach
    • Phil taught Kobe the importance of meditation and being in the present moment
  • Kobe calls Vince Carter the “best dunker I’ve ever seen”