5. “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.”
Kobe Bryant has a unique style of play when he is on the floor. He can dominate the game with his killer shooter instinct, as shown with his remarkable 81-point massacre against the Toronto Raptors in early 2006. He can also orchestrate the team with his amazing passing and play calling. In addition to his wide array of talents, he has created an offensive style that complements the triangle offense, which is in of itself a complicated style of play. It takes experience to master this type of style, and Kobe clearly is in his own separate world in terms of talent. The younger players on his team cannot match his basketball IQ as it is too high, but that can be a problem as he sees the floor very differently. When the ball is in his hand, only Bryant knows what is going to happen and that could very well be the reason why he is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.
4. “Everything negative—pressure, challenges—is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
Bryant has developed himself as one best clutch performers in NBA history with his remarkable late game heroics. There have been countless situations in which the Lakers have relied on Kobe to lift them past the opposing team with the clock winding down. Even though the ball does not go through the net every time he attempts to save the Lakers, Bryant has enough confidence to take that responsibility for the team. As the end of regulation nears, the atmosphere and the possibility of losing allows Bryant to transform into the Black Mamba and strike his opponent with his deadly shots. Bryant feeds off of negative energy by using that pressure as motivation to surpass his opponents. Bryant has risen during his 15-year career and will continue to rise with more heroics.
3. “What I’m doing right now, I’m chasing perfection.”
Bryant is an athlete who constantly tries to improve his basketball game with new skills and bring his game as close to perfection as possible. Bryant wants to master every aspect of his game, whether it is improving his post-up moves, his free throw shooting, his fade-away shots, or his defense. He spends countless hours in the gym and it’s not surprising to find him staying on the practice floor well after practice ends because his killer instinct and desire to get better with every passing day. His dedication and commitment to the game of basketball is unparalleled by any other player who has played the game, and it has been shown through his performances. Obviously, no one is perfect and can ever reach perfection, but Bryant has the dedication to come closer to that mark than any basketball player has before.
2. “You always have to be on edge. You always have to take every practice, every game, like it is your last.”
This quote summarizes how Bryant approaches the game of basketball. He constantly attempts to demonstrate his best performance in every contest he plays in, whether it is through his shooting, passing, or rebounding. Most importantly, Bryant has risen as a leader on the Lakers squad, and continues to challenge his teammates to always perform better than their previous games. He is defying expectations as he is continuing his 15-year career with stellar performances, but that is because he approaches the game with the best mindset. This quote hints what Kobe awaits in the future: his retirement. As a Laker fan, you cringe at the idea of Kobe retiring and never playing a game of professional basketball ever again, but you have to realize that it will happen eventually. But that is the reason why Kobe approaches every practice and every game with the mentality that it could be his last.
1. “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”
This quote pretty much summarizes Kobe’s feelings toward his constant comparison with Michael Jordan. No one will ever be the next Michael Jordan. Jordan is in his own separate universe when it comes to basketball greatness, but Bryant has created his own reputation as one of the most talented basketball players in NBA history. Bryant has demonstrated his own basketball style through his ridiculous scoring ability and consistent late game heroics. Bryant is one of the most dedicated and hard-working professional athletes in NBA history, and that is something that these two remarkable talents have in common. Bryant knows that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player to ever play in the NBA, but he also knows that he could become better than Michael Jordan by being himself.