Zita Gloria INEZA TETA, Grade 12
UWCEA Moshi Campus
The black mamba also known as Kobe Bryant was inspirational to multiple generations of basketball players. Personally, I grew up watching his games when he was still in his prime. Seeing young players wearing the 24 Lakers jersey always seemed right to me. His mentality, ethic and consistency stays with us even after the tragic accident that took him away from his family and the whole generation of players who still needed his guidance.
Kobe Bryant is a legend. When I think of him, I think of greatness and fighting no matter what. Even though I did not get a chance to meet with him in person, I still believe that the advice he left is as meaningful as the one I could get in person.
So, with the help of different interviews he gave, I compiled my own dream interview that I never got the chance to have with him. In this interview, he will be answering questions that I have been dying to ask him since I picked up a basketball.
Me: .. Thanks for having me today; it’s a pleasure to finally meet my role model in person!
Bryant: … nah, the pleasure is for me. It’s always nice to see kids like you who have been inspired by my work. That is what I intend to do everyday: inspire the young generation!
Me: As we begin the interview, I just want to get through a curiosity question if that's okay. Your first name Kobe, is there a meaning behind it?
Bryant: I guess the media knows more about that name than I do. But my dad says it’s related to a dish he shared with my mom back in Japan called the Kobe beef…(laughs). Now the name is mine!
Me: Kobe, you are now retired and owner of Granity, a storytelling production company. You also won the Academy Award for the best animated short film, dear basketball, what do you think is your legacy after retiring from the game of basketball?
Bryant: Actually, a lot of my friends were worried about me. They would be like “ you will be depressed when you retire. What will you do after basketball?” But I guess you gotta do what you love and invest yourself in something that gives you joy. To me, that thing was storytelling and helping young kids in that way.
Me: I guess that’s true. Speaking of inspiring kids, your daughter Gianna plays basketball in a team that you coach, the mamba basketball academy. How does it feel to coach your own daughter?
Bryant: As I said, I like inspiring kids just like you or my daughter. So, seeing her grow in the game and in character is amazing. When coaching these kids I not only teach them the game but I also have their self esteem in my hands. I always make sure not to destroy that.
Me: I feel you. You're a basketball legend with five championship rings with the Lakers, NBA all star appearances, olympic game gold medals and NBA MVP. What do you think it takes to get there?
Bryant: What I tell my young players is that there is no correct formula to greatness. You just gotta work hard and stay consistent. If your teammates wake up at 6:00 for practice, wake up at 4:00 and put in two more hours of practice. Stay consistent, do it everyday and don’t worry about the legacy because the story will write itself.
Me: I guess that’s what you mean by the Mamba mentality. Is that it?
Bryant: Yeah it’s that but also focusing on the process, trusting it and putting in the hard work. Back then I was not the strongest. So, when my teammates went out partying, I usually stayed in because I knew it would give me an edge. In short, the mamba mentality is the will to constantly become better everyday no matter what.
Me: Constantly improving ourselves. Is that what helped you score 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006?
Bryant: Man, that was cold! But I could have scored even more. When I look back on the easy buckets I missed, I could have done better! That’s what a black Mamba does.
Me: The black mamba himself! Everyone in the league says you are great. Not only for your talent but for your personality too. What advice would you give to a young player like me who would like to be great on and off the court?
Bryant: Just be yourself and do what you like. When you are doing what you like and putting in the necessary work, the results are going to be that good.
Me: Doing what I like it is! Thank you so much for having me again. I hope one day you will be watching me on TV as I play ball and influence the other generations off the court.
Bryant: Best of luck to you! Stay motivated, I hope to see you in the WNBA, maybe with Gianna, who knows (laughs)!
“Full Recap of Kobe Bryant's Live Tweet Session of 81-Point Game.” Bleacher Report, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1496690-full-recap-of-kobe-bryants-livetweet-session-of-81-point-game. Accessed 5 August 2022.
“Kobe Bryant.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant. Accessed 5 August 2022.
“Kobe Bryant Day: What 'Mamba Mentality' Meant in His Own Words.” Entertainment Tonight, 24 August 2020, https://www.etonline.com/kobe-bryant-day-what-mamba-mentality-meant-in-his-own-words-140424. Accessed 5 August 2022.
“Kobe Bryant: Highlights from final sit-down interview with NBA legend.” USA Today, 29 January 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2020/01/29/kobe-bryant-highlights-final-sit-down-interview-before-death/4604373002/. Accessed 5 August 2022.
Image Courtesy: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/29/vanessa-bryant-breaks-silence-on-death-of-husband-kobe-and-daughter-gianna.html