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If you’re going to have the honor of playing girls basketball and being coached by a GOAT like Kobe Bryant, then you will have to make some concessions to be part of something so special.
Kobe came under fire recently after the Mambas travel basketball team won a weekend tournament game by the score of 115-27. Kobe wanted to express just how proud he was of his team and how he was enjoying the journey of coaching.
However, in doing so, he revealed to 10.2 million Instagram followers that he’s been holding a two-year grudge against one of his players for choosing a dance recital over a basketball game.
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Here’s our fourth place “winners” picture lol six of the kids in the picture stayed with me and worked every single day to get better and continue to work to this day. The 7th player (not in pic) missed this game for a dance recital so that should tell you where her focus was at this time, meaning she enjoyed dance more than ball which is fine. Now? She eats sleeps and breaths the game. So from this original group of 7 we have added a player TWO years YOUNGER (6th grade now), a player who’s team in our area folded and a player who’s family moved here from Tennessee. The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues #mambas #2yearsago
The post was supposed to be motivational, but it affected some parents the wrong way. And then the social media sheep ran with it which is par for the course. Very few people can understand passion and obsession with a goal as thoroughly as Kobe Bryant. Most people have never achieved or reached such heights of diligence, consistency, success, and dominance in their craft.
When Kobe decided to coach his daughter’s team and apply the same mentality that he used over a 20-year NBA career, there was always potential for something like this happening.
Understanding Mamba Mentality
Kobe may coach girl’s basketball, but he doesn’t see gender or age as an obstacle. He impresses the philosophy of his “Mamba Mentality” on anyone he coaches.
Missing important games and not being fully committed to team building is a huge red flag on the competitive tip for Kobe, who tried to clarify the post after all of these soft ass parents took offense. He went as far as to post a video of himself at 12-years old in a dance show and captioning it with a story about how he missed basketball for two days to do the show.
I don’t think backtracking is a dimension of the Mamba mentality, but in this case, it was probably necessary.
Kobe defends his caption criticizing a player on his team 😬 pic.twitter.com/dYnquHvq9y
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 11, 2019
Back in 2016, Kobe broke down what Mamba Mentality actually meant:
“To sum up what Mamba Mentality is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself,” Bryant said.
“That is what the Mentality is,” he added. “It’s a constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday.”
The Shadow League caught up with the legendary, Brooklyn born sports photographer, Andrew D. Bernstein, who had ventured into books after 40 years as a photographer for the NBA. He’s probably captured every famous sports photo that is embedded in our minds.
Andy collaborated with Kobe — who he covered throughout Kobe’s entire Lakers career — on a book called “The Mamba Mentality” which was released in 2018.
The book offers readers an exclusive, inside look at the level of mental and physical preparation and the detailed approach it takes to excel at the game from Kobe’s perspective, in his own words (and in his own handwriting) with incredible, stunning and rare visuals by Andy over a 20-year period.
If you read that book you’ll understand why Kobe made that post about the seventh player on his daughter’s basketball team missing a tournament for a dance recital. Kobe called the girl out for something that happened two years earlier, so he’s obviously still harboring some resentment.
Conflicts Between Multi-Talented Kids And Mamba Mentality Coaches
This isn’t uncommon. The fact is that most parents don’t take a junior high school hoops squad as serious as the coach. They often never do, especially if their kid is not one of the superstars on the team. Kobe had that singular focus on hoops at a very young age. Many of the young women playing sports also have other interests — like dance recitals.
As a parent, I know that when you have a multi-talented kid, sometimes you have to decide which recreational event you’re going to attend. Often times, it’s left up to the kid, who’s rarely as amped about a championship game or tournament, as an adult coach is.
It creates a natural conflict. We know Kobe’s mentality. We know that dedication, consistency, focus and pushing yourself to the next level is what he stands on. We also know that it’s not the end of the world if a girl misses a basketball game to attend a dance recital because if you understand dance you know that performers put in hours of work for one or two shows. It’s not like you can shoot 0-20 at a dance recital and then come back the next night and drop 40. It’s usually a one-shot deal, but Kobe would never understand that as a man who is ultra-focused on sports as the end-all.
He also showed a bit of insensitivity towards the value of dancing as an athletic activity. At the same time, when you mess with the Mamba and buy into his methodology, you have to know what you’re getting into and respect the process, which the girl obviously did because he also complimented how far she has come since then.