Kobe Bryant: Hard Work Means Never Giving Up

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 does Kobe Bryant believe about hard work? How can learning how to work hard make you prepared for sports and for life?

According to Kobe Bryant, hard work is the cornerstone to success. Only by working harder than everyone else can you truly excel.

Read more about Kobe Bryant, hard work, and The Mamba Mentality.

Kobe Bryant on Hard Work in Basketball and in Life

From a young age, Kobe had an intrinsic motivation to do anything necessary to become a top-notch basketball player. His internal drive was always stronger than any external force. Kobe wanted to be great, and he knew that to be great, he had to be obsessive: He had to work harder than everyone else and make sacrifices others were unwilling to make He realized that hard work in sports was the only way to achieve.  

At the core of his obsession was Kobe’s mental focus. He deliberately trained himself to improve his focus—through reading, studying the game, and paying close attention to the coach during practice—so that he could be present and aware at all times. Kobe was also unafraid to fail, because he considered everything a learning opportunity. When he discovered a new move or technique that he wanted to add to his repertoire, he didn’t shy away from the learning curve—instead, he practiced the skill endlessly until it was embedded in his mind and muscle memory. 

Throughout his career, Kobe maintained a grueling schedule, which included both early mornings and late nights. Kobe realized that if he started his day early, he could fit in a third workout, rather than the standard two. What’s more, if he got up early enough, he could get his first workout done and be back home by the time his kids woke up. Kobe also did his last workout of the day after his kids went to bed, so that he didn’t have to sacrifice time with them. Sacrifice was inevitable, but Kobe determined what he was willing to give up, and what he wasn’t—he decided that he wasn’t willing to sacrifice workout time nor family time, so he sacrificed sleep. This was part of his decision to continue hard work in sports.

Kobe maintained his rigid routine regardless of the season or circumstances. While other players eased up on their workouts during the season, in order 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. Everything Kobe did was purposeful and strategic—starting with his preparation. Kobe Bryant believes hard work in basketball and being prepared can lead to success in all aspects of the sport.

Kobe Bryant: Hard Work Means Never Giving Up

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Kobe Bryant's "The Mamba Mentality" at Shortform .

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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