Kobe Bryant has been both praised and criticized for his leadership style over the years, though his ability to win championships can often negate the latter. When discussing leadership in an interview with NBA TV back in February, Bryant emphasized the importance of holding people accountable for their actions, even though it can be a very “uncomfortable” situation.
Bryant also admitted that “leadership is lonely,” stating that a good leader has to come to terms with accepting that they are not going to please everyone around them. Bryant’s leadership style has of course evolved over the years, and at a recent charity gala, Bryant revealed who it was that challenged him to be a great leader, the moment he stepped foot in Los Angeles.
When I first came here, Bill Sharman was one of the first ones to give me advice and show me the ropes, and it continued all the way up to winning the Finals and beating the Celtics. He used to write me letters and notes, especially going into the off-season. He would write me a note of things he would want me to work on and things I could get better on.”
Bryant told LakersNation.com that it was Sharman’s note on leadership, hand-written on a piece of paper, that has always stuck out to him. Sharman told Bryant that there was more to leadership than being a “task master” and that every now and then “you’ve got to give a pat on the back,” when credit is due.
He really wanted to challenge me on leadership,” Bryant said of Sharman’s mentorship. “And, figuring out how to balance out bringing the best in guys, but also challenging them at the same time.”
Joyce Sharman, widow of Bill Sharman, remembered how much respect and admiration Sharman and Bryant had for one another, despite their differences in age.
Kobe’s a fierce competitor. Bill was a fierce competitor. Winning was the greatest thing to them and they shared that in common,” Joyce Sharman said at the Toberman Neighborhood Center gala.
Say what you will of Bryant’s leadership style, but as Kobe would tell you, he’s got a handful of rings to show for it.
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa were honored with the Bill Sharman Humanitarian award earlier this month.[divide]
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