As a former basketball player, I admired two things about Kobe Bryant. First was his desire to bring excellence to everything he did. And he is perceived as more than just a basketball player (athlete). He wanted to be the best not by just mere talking about it, but by putting in the work.  

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At times, his self-confidence was misinterpreted as arrogance, selfish, and conceit. But that would never stop him from working his butt off and still believing in his God-given ability. My favorite takeaway is that ’you can be confident when you put in the work.’  He transferred high expectations of personal excellence over into other roles as husband, father, coach, business owner, author, philanthropist, etc. 

Now, let’s apply that ‘Mamba Mentality’ as we mourn the tragic death of him and his daughter. Kobe coined the term ‘mamba mentality’ to describe the level of intense focus and relentlessness he took both in preparation and competition.

It seems that death is nothing we can prepare for nor are we ever ready for. But here are a couple of ways that we can keep the ‘mamba mentality’ going. First, we can practice focusing on a higher power. Let’s also focus on lifting up his wife Vanessa, his children and the other families affected by this accident in prayer.  Let’s take some time to meditate on the indwelling spirit of love, compassion, understanding and appreciation. The untimely and unexpected results of life and death has always caused humanity both joy and pain and it seems that will never change. 

Secondly, we can all use our time to share our gifts, skills and talents with the world and to be the best version of ourselves. Even though Kobe was always in the pursuit of excellence, he embraced the special moments of life. He challenged himself to be better, to get better, and more importantly to do better by sharing his knowledge of what he learned in his pursuit. He understood that mediocrity was always the enemy. So lets pursue excellence in our relationships at home, in our relationships with our coworkers and more importantly, with ourselves.

I’m reminded by the inspired Word of God that says in James 4:14, ‘We do not know what will happen tomorrow or the next day. For life is perceived only as a vapor, it appears for a little time and then it disappears. Let us not take life for granted. Let us not take our loved ones for granted. And let us not take time for granted. 

Thank you Kobe for the master class on the ‘mamba mentality.’

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