Players like Julius Erving or Kobe Bryant, they all seem to have their act together. They seem to have been born lucky with talent.
The human perception and self-delusion is amazing because we tend to ignore the fact the countless hours that are required in order to achieve something beautiful. Something that you will be remembered by.
There’s no shortcut. No easy road to take. Let’s talk about Kobe for a while…
When he was a kid he was forced to live in Italy for 6-7 years because his dad, Joe Bryant was playing for a team there. Kobe was a stranger in a foreign country. When he came back in Philly he was also a stranger because he didn’t have many friends and as he says, there was so much slang going on that he couldn’t understand.
In High School, he was brilliant. Scoring and winning was all he was about. And when we look at it we think that he had a God-given talent and that was it. But Kobe had to pave the road with tears and blood.
When everybody was going out to party and going to clubs, Kobe was in his private space perfecting his game. When his teammates weren’t taking the game seriously, he would promise himself that next year, he’s gonna win it all.
He was taking everything personally because the game was personal to him. It wasn’t just a game, it was a way of life. He didn’t want to go to no strip clubs and stuff, he wanted to play ball.
People in High School remember him as this kid who would dribble the ball 5:40-6:00 in the morning, when everybody was sleeping. They could feel from the look in his eyes that he is determined and he’s got his path defined as vividly as possible. He likes to be on the top.
And after he comes in the Lakers, after being traded for Vlade Divac from Charlotte he becomes known to the public. It wasn’t easy even then for him. It wasn’t easy to get his s**t together. Playing with Shaq was a tough cookie cuz they both wanted to dominate the court.
Especially the offensive part. Everybody was telling him he needed to pass the ball but it was like as if he was hugging it all the time. It wasn’t until Phil Jackson stepped on the line as a Lakers coach that Kobe became a complete player. Kobe listened to Phil and he only did so because he was serious about the game and he loved the game.
While he was wildly worshiped by the fans, Kobe was getting a lot of criticism by the media. People were calling him arrogant and brass and overly self-confident. But to Kobe, it was all practice. He knew he needed to put some wood first in order to make the fire. Unlike the players who think they can start up a fire without putting in the wood first.
What’s your lesson here? There’s a take-away for everyone of us. Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t make it. You have the RIGHT to be what you wanna be as long as you dedicate yourself and make a before-hand, long term commitment to the game of basketball, that you are getting to the top one way or another.