Best Kobe Bryant Advice On Basketball, Life, & Success

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Mamba Mentality" by Kobe Bryant. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the best Kobe Bryant advice? Is his mindset about more than just basketball?

There is a lot of Kobe Bryant advice out there about how to excel at basketball, but The Mamba Mentality takes it a step further. Kobe Bryant offers advice about sports, but also about life and forming a winning mentality.

Keep reading for the best Kobe Bryant advice, The Mamba Mentality tips, and why it matters.

Kobe Bryant Advice and More

In The Mamba Mentality, Kobe Bryant offers advice on more than just basketball. Kobe learned a lot over his decades long career about being an athlete and a strong person. The cornerstones of The Mamba Mentality are discipline, hard work, and constant improvement.

Kobe Bryant Advice: Be Disciplined

From a young age, Kobe had an intrinsic motivation to do anything necessary to become a top-notch basketball player. Kobe wanted to be great, and he knew that, in order to achieve that, he had to work harder than everyone else and make sacrifices others were unwilling to make. Throughout his career, Kobe maintained a grueling schedule, which included both early mornings and late nights of practice, workouts, and film sessions. While other players eased up on their workouts during the season to avoid wearing themselves out, Kobe carried on. Although his schedule was tiring, it also helped him maintain endurance throughout the season and into the playoffs. This Kobe Bryant advice is central to the rest of the book.

Be Prepared, Both Physically and Mentally

This Kobe Bryant advice focuses on how to get your head in the game. An NBA game lasts for 48 minutes—but Kobe spent many hours preparing and training for each game. Kobe needed both physical and mental agility on the court, so his pre-game routine worked out his body and mind. 

Kobe didn’t rely on a fixed warmup routine before games. Instead, he had a general circuit of drills. He always started by shooting close to the basket. Gradually, he’d move farther back, and, finally, he’d practice a variety of shots that he might need for that night’s game. However, the primary factor that dictated Kobe’s warmup was how his body was feeling—whether he felt he needed more shooting practice, a longer stretch, a meditation session, or a catnap, Kobe always listened to his body. This principle also forced Kobe to adjust his warmups as he got older, because his 40-year-old body needed a lot more stretching than his 20-year-old body had.

Kobe started stretching hours before a game. As game time approached, he gradually transitioned to more active movements with a broader range of motion. Kobe paid attention to detail in all areas of his career, and he was well aware that pain and stiffness in certain body parts could be symptomatic of tightness in a different muscle. Because of this, Kobe made sure that his ankles were active and limber, because ankle stiffness could cause pain in his knees, hips, and back.  The Mamba Mentality tips often focus on both physical and mental focus.

Maintain Mental and Emotional Control

As in any sport, playing basketball at an elite, professional level requires not just physical ability but also mental and emotional control. Players can get derailed if they get frustrated in the heat of the game, cocky and complacent when the scoreboard favors them, or discouraged and self-pitying when coming back from an injury. Although Kobe wasn’t immune to emotional highs and lows, he made a point of staying calm and focused. 

More Advice: Learn Constantly

This piece of Kobe Bryant advice explains the importance of always learning. The Mamba Mentality is about the effort to reach success, not the moment you reach the finish line. Throughout his 20-year career, despite his mastery of the game, Kobe never ceased learning and striving to improve. In 2003, he felt that he had reached his pinnacle and had become unstoppable—but he didn’t view that moment as the beginning of his decline. Instead, Kobe was driven to continue working and refining his game because he consistently looked ahead toward future goals, instead of looking back and admiring what he’d already achieved. 

Study Yourself and Your Opponents

In order to become great, honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses, and learn from your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Kobe’s film sessions were just as critical as his gym workouts. He watched tape of himself and also studied players across the league to learn their strengths and shortcomings, so that he knew exactly how to play against them. He was never intimidated by facing talented opponents—he merely adjusted his game accordingly. He explained his strategies for many of the NBA’s top players

Try New Things

As you strive to achieve your goal, you may find opportunities and lessons on the periphery of your craft. After the first decade of Kobe’s career, he’d competed in the NBA Finals in four out of five consecutive years, and he’d won three championship rings. Furthermore, he had scored a career-high 81 points in one game, the second-most of any player in NBA history. Kobe’s achievements earned him praise and recognition within the league, as well as opportunities outside of it. 

Never Stop Improving

The Mamba Mentality is about continuing to strive upward, regardless of the heights you’ve reached. No matter how many championship rings Kobe won, he always wanted more. He’d worked hard to become such a well-rounded and dominant player, and he never wanted to feel defeat. When Kobe did inevitably face losses, he carried on just as he would have after a win: He continued his workout, practice, and film-study regimen.  Kobe’s tried-and-true routine carried him through his entire career, down to the final game. The day of his last game felt like any other—until he walked into the arena, where the mood was somber. However, once the game started, Kobe played with the same passion, strategy, and intensity that had defined his 20-year career. By the time he retired, Kobe credited basketball with teaching him about leadership, human nature, and his own creativity.

With these The Mamba Mentality tips, you can work on succeeding on and off the court.

Best Kobe Bryant Advice On Basketball, Life, & Success

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Mamba Mentality summary:

  • How Kobe Bryant was able to play and dominate the best players
  • Why Kobe took up tap dancing for a summer
  • How reading the referee's handbook helped Kobe improve his game

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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