Suffice to say, Kobe Bryant relished winning and despised losing in any capacity during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a competitive spirit that extended beyond the court.
Teammates and assistant coaches alike spoke about Bryant’s desire to emerge victorious whenever in a competitive setting. That type of burning desire helped fuel Bryant to five championships and push his body beyond belief.
While Bryant reveled in winning, he took a methodical and calculated approach in cases where he came up short. And during an appearance on “The School of Greatness,” the five-time champion explained how and why he approached winning and losing in the same manner:
“It’s exciting. … Because it means you have different ways to get better. There are certain things you can figure out, that you can take advantage of, certain weaknesses that were exposed that you need to shore up. So it’s exciting. It sucks to lose but at the same time, there are answers there if you just look at them. … I mean, the answers are there when you win, too. You just have to look at them. So it’s a constant process. It’s exciting when you win, it’s exciting when you lose, because the process should be exactly the same. Whether you win or lose, you go back and you look, you find things you could’ve done better, find things you’ve done well, that worked. Figure out how did they work, why did they work, how can you make them work again? But the hardest thing is to face that stuff. That’s a really, really tough challenge.”
Bryant used a relationship developed with UConn’s women’s basketball star Katie Lou Samuelson
and the heartache she and Huskies endured by losing to Notre Dame in the national championship game. Upon learning she hadn’t, Bryant said he implored Samuelson to watch the game film.
The thought process being, as he explained, there’s a lesson to be learned. So while Bryant revealing he found a thrill element in losing is a bit surprising, that he would take those experiences and channel them for a greater good is par for course.